The design changes Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull have made for their 2023 F1 cars

Thomas Maher
Charles Leclerc leads Sergio Perez in F1 2023 testing. Bahrain February 2023 design changes

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc leads Sergio Perez in testing. Bahrain February 2023

Ahead of the season opener in Bahrain, F1’s leading teams have explained the key design changes they’ve made to their cars as evolutions of the existing ruleset.

F1’s leading teams have opened up on the key design changes they’ve introduced to their 2023 F1 cars, the first year of the evolution of the new ground-effect regulations that began last year.

Red Bull

Red Bull’s submitted list of changes for their 2023 car is short and sweet, and includes a pointed message.

The biggest difference is in the area of the floor, where the team have said the regulation changes “enforced a geometry change from last year to raise the minimum height of the outboard edge

“It is not a change the team chose to pursue, nor was it beneficial to car performance so the resulting geometry was aimed at minimising the incurred loss.”

They’ve also revised their front wing design, which has been “subtly evolved” – partially to observe end plate regulations changes as well as increasing the load without having an effect further downstream on the RB19.

The engine cover “coke” has also been changed, due to a re-design of the radiator exit ducting – this has meant a revised engine cover in order to optimise cooling further from last year.

Mercedes

Much has been made of Mercedes showing up in Bahrain with a new-spec rear wing, aimed at producing lower drag. According to the team, the re-design has seen the tips of the wings raised on the upper plane – this offloading means being able to “shed drag efficiently”.

On the front end, the team have introduced ‘flicks’ to the front wing, helping to “focus the vorticity” shed from the wing tips and giving the team a wider range of front ride heights to work with.

On the nose, the underside has been re-profiled to help with increasing the load on the front eng and improving the airflow under the chassis and to the underfloor.

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While Red Bull took the opportunity to tick ‘no reason’ for the floor edge changes, Mercedes, who were one of the strongest voices pushing for changes due to porpoising last season, have said their increased camber forward floor edge and reduced chord rear floor edge results in increased forward floor load and cleaner rear vortexas and allowing for increased diffuser loads.

The front suspension has seen the front track rods dropped in height, improving the airflow through the lower wishbone area to downwash the flow from the front wing to the underfloor.

The sidepods have also seen some attention, with a narrow sidepod inlet improving airflow internally to the radiator for more efficient engine cooling and improving airflow to the rear floor edge for increased rear downforce.

Ferrari

While Mercedes have been quite open about making several changes around the car, Ferrari have played their cards closer to their chest.

The Scuderia have concentrated on a change to the front suspension, with a move from a high to a low track rod end.

The front wing has been re-designed, with the primary element no longer attached to the nose. Instead, Ferrari have opted for a ‘floating’ element.

Like Red Bull, Ferrari have re-designed their engine cover in order to create a “more extreme” version of last year’s bodywork.

Alpine

Alpine have revealed a host of design changes for their 2023 F1 car, with a ‘completely new shape’ front wing rolled out in order to increase local load and deliver a cleaner airflow to the rear of the car. This includes a completely redesigned nose, as well as a changed front suspension.

This, again, improves the airflow along the car to deliver a less disturbed airflow to the rear.

Aero development on the front corners has increased local loads, as well as improving front brake cooling configurations.

Alpine have highlighted the floor changes as being a “key area of development”, with the team revealing their completely new floor profile, edge, and diffuser to correspond with the new floor rule changes.

Like Red Bull and Ferrari, Alpine have also concentrated on the engine cover as a potential source for improvements, with a new shape and cooling exit positions created in order to improve downforce and increase airflow stability to the rear.

Towards the rear, Alpine have completely redesigned their suspension to move to a pushrod design after using pullrod last year – this saves weight and allows for improved aero development, with improved suspension optimisation and brake cooling.

The beam wing and rear wings are completely new designs, with both aimed at reducing drag and improving local loading.