Red Bull and Aston Martin with interesting upgrades for Japanese GP

Uros Radovanovic
Sergio Perez with Red Bull's Suzuka upgrade

Sergio Perez with Red Bull's Suzuka upgrade

The long-awaited race in Japan is here! After a short break, the teams have had enough time to prepare the first upgrades for this season and attempt to get closer to the top.

Suzuka is a legendary track known for its unique layout and weather conditions, always providing good entertainment. But what we will focus on here are those all-important upgrades that the teams have prepared.

Red Bull, Aston Martin Japanese GP upgrades analysed

Suzuka is a very fast track, the only one on the current calendar that is raced in a “figure eight” layout. It is characterised by a large number of fast corners that generate immense lateral forces, both on the driver and the tyres. Therefore, this is a very demanding track, where the driver’s concentration must be at a maximum level because even the slightest mistakes are not forgiven here.

Due to these lateral forces, tyre wear is enormous – despite Pirelli preparing the hardest tyre sets for this weekend. We can expect two pit stops, which opens up the strategy game for the teams.

Teams will try to find the optimal aerodynamic solution for high speeds and much-needed grip in fast corners. What is also interesting is that we only have one DRS zone here, so a slightly more aggressive aero package could be problematic in the race.

Red Bull innovate again with new inlet

Although there seems to be no end to their dominance, Red Bull continues to improve its car and set new boundaries.

The most striking upgrade is the new inlet located below the halo’s end. Initially, it seemed that this inlet had the role of directing air towards the rear of the car, specifically towards the beam wing.

Considering the much-needed downforce, the design of the beam wing can crucially affect the performance of the floor and the rear wing, which must be as efficient as possible this weekend.

However, a more likely explanation is that Red Bull wants to change the way the power unit is cooled. Compared to the previous race weekend, there are no longer cooling openings on the sides of the car, as can be seen from the image below.

This shows us that engineers were not satisfied with the performance of the previous design, so they decided to add a new inlet for cooling.

Additionally, it can be noticed that the geometry of the car’s “shoulders” is more pronounced.

To enable even better airflow through the new inlet, Red Bull has added another aerodynamic element on the car’s mirrors. We believe that this small detail will help improve airflow over the top side of the sidepods.

Hello Aston Martin?

Aston Martin started the 2024 season much worse compared to the previous one. Nevertheless, it seems that this team is on the right track in terms of technological progress.

Definitely the biggest change at Aston Martin is the geometry of the sidepods, which has received a new detail – something we saw last season on both Aston Martin and Red Bull.

The place where this detail has been added is very critical from an aerodynamics perspective, as the airflow can easily separate from the surface of the car here.

When designing aerodynamics, we always want the airflow to be close to the surface of the car because every separation produces additional drag and disrupts the flow of air.

Therefore, the goal of the Aston Martin engineers was to increase the surface area of the sidepod in that area to somehow help the airflow remain attached for longer.

The image below shows the car during pre-season testing, where this problematic area can be seen much more clearly. The absence of flow-wiz fluorescent colour tells us that there is separation of air at this point.

Additionally, Aston Martin has also changed a few details on the edge of the car’s floor, which likely aim to better adapt to the track in Japan.

Also, the geometry of the rear part of the engine cover has undergone certain changes to improve airflow around the beam wing.

As we have already mentioned, the aerodynamics of the car’s floor, as well as the rear part, will be crucial this weekend…

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