FIA reveal comprehensive car upgrades for Bahrain Grand Prix

Thomas Maher
Red Bull RB20 engine cover, sidepods and floor.

Red Bull revised their Formula 1 car over the winter, putting an aggressive RB20 on the track.

The updates list of the leading F1 cars has been released by the FIA and makes for interesting reading as the real cars are unveiled.

Ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the FIA has revealed the updates introduced to each car.

Ahead of each Grand Prix, the teams must reveal the tweaks that have been made to the car, with the list including the latest specification upgrades that will be used on each machine.

Red Bull roll out Bahrain Grand Prix upgrades

The car everyone is keeping an eye on for this weekend in Bahrain, the RB20 proved impressive throughout pre-season testing last week.

But the Milton Keynes-based squad heads into this weekend with a raft of changes to the car. Starting with the front wing, the elements of the wing have been refined for more stable loading – and allow for more load than last year’s.

The endplates have also been tweaked to reduce the loss on the endplate rollover to increase the aero load.

On the nose, an emphasis has been put on improving flow conditioning of the air to the front wing and for more even control of the air pressure along its length.

On the side pods, the inlet shape has been changed to “better utilise” the pressure to feed the radiators. This revision is circuit-specific and allows the external profile to be less detrimental to the floor edge.

On the floor itself, Red Bull has taken inspiration from competitor cars, with shapes creating more local load derived for the car without any compromise on stability.

Cooling louvres have been revised and placed to help maintain system temperatures to within more comfortable operating limits while, on the engine cover, the shape has been re-profiled to improve air pressure ahead of being funnelled to the rear wing.

The better flow to the rear win thus enables a more efficient aero load for any rear wing configuration.

Mercedes W15 updates revealed for Bahrain Grand Prix

With Mercedes having shown up for 2024 with a very different concept for their W15, the Brackley-based squad has been working hard on getting some early updates ready for their car for the season opener.

Like Red Bull, a controversial tweaked front wing sees the forward element detached from the nose, with a reduced fourth element chord on the inboard side.

This detached forward element improves flow to the rear of the car, improving the floor performance. The small chord flap then helps with local offload on the front wing, improving the airflow to the rear of the car.

The side pod inlet uses a triangular shape to improve the flow quality to the radiator, as well as the airflow further downstream on the car, and increases floor load.

Mercedes has also concentrated on their floor body performance, with the changes in the fence camber and floor tunnel increasing local load and the airflow underneath.

In a ground-effect regulations era, this improves the flow quality to the diffuser and increases rear floor load.

A softened engine cover shoulder aims to improve the flow quality under the upper rear wing, increasing the load, as well as allowing for better management of the airflow.

The beam wing and rear wing have also had various tweaks and revisions made, aimed at improving interaction with the diffuser and cleaning up wing efficiency.

Ferrari’s SF-24 boasts minor list of updates

While Red Bull and Mercedes have gone big on the updates for Bahrain, Ferrari’s confirmed list of tweaks is much shorter.

On the sidepod inlet, it’s been reworked and raised to work in conjunction with a redesigned side pod and coke undercut.

This improves the flow in the undercut and the interactions with the floor edge and towards the rear of the car, without compromising on cooling.

The engine cover has been ‘inflated’, with a more prominent central exit. This exit increases the car’s overall efficiency, being more biased towards the central section of the bodywork.

The rear suspension and corners have also been tweaked to better suit the bodywork, by offering better inboard and outboard integrations.

The improved airflow and regression of the suspension arms help deliver more energy to the rear brake ducts, which have thus been optimised further.

McLaren MCL38 has new bodywork and side pod inlets

The Woking-based squad have reshaped their side pod inlets to improve their airflow structure management for all conditions, as well as improving cooling performance.

On the engine cover, the bodywork has been redesigned to complement the side pod inlet changes, as well as improve floor interaction.

The floor edge has been redesigned to improve the loading and conditioning, having been made possible by improved interaction from the modified bodywork.

The rear and beam wings have been completely changed, resulting in a gain in efficiency for local loading and drag level.

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