Red Bull and Mercedes lead the way with key Canadian Grand Prix upgrades

Oliver Harden
A Red Bull soapbox car sits in the team's box in the Montreal pit lane

Even by their standards, Red Bull's Canadian GP upgrade is a bit radical...

Red Bull have arrived at the Canadian Grand Prix armed with a new rear wing, with Mercedes also bringing an upgrade to Montreal as the F1 2024 development race hots up.

Having produced the most dominant season in history in F1 2023, winning all but one of the 22 races as Max Verstappen eased to a third successive World Championship, Red Bull had been expected to crush the opposition once again in F1 2024.

Canadian Grand Prix upgrades: Red Bull, Mercedes and more

Yet despite starting the new campaign with four wins from the first five races, Red Bull have looked increasingly vulnerable over recent weeks in the face of a renewed threat from McLaren and Ferrari, who won in Miami and Monaco respectively.

Red Bull suffered their most challenging weekend for some time in Monte Carlo, where Verstappen could only manage sixth as team-mate Sergio Perez fell in the first stage of qualifying.

The team’s performance led to Verstappen’s father Jos claiming Red Bull’s period of dominance is over, urging the team to respond after successful upgrades for Ferrari and McLaren.

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And with Ferrari and McLaren bringing no further improvements to Montreal, Red Bull have acted by debuting a revised rear wing, featuring a reprofiled flap across the span of the rear wing.

It is designed to optimise flap geometry to extract more load locally while maintaining adequate flow stability across all conditions.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit have also brought an enlarged front-brake cooling exit duct in the name of reliability to counter the significant brake demands at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Mercedes, who are still awaiting their first podium finish of the F1 2024 season, have brought a tweak to the front suspension – a realignment of the track rod and lower wishbone forward leg – with the aim of reducing boundary-layer losses and improving airflow to the floor.

The Silver Arrows have also made tweaks to the front corner of the W15, increasing the inlet size of the brake ducts, though this is described as circuit-specific.

Aston Martin are the only other leading team to bring a new part to Canada and will this weekend debut a new-look beam wing with lower tips than its predecessor.

Alpine are the only team in the bottom half of the field not to bring an upgrade this weekend with Williams, RB, Sauber and Haas all looking to make strides.

Williams have overhauled the suspension, bringing a shorter steering arm for the front of the car and a new pullrod design for the rear.

While the new rear suspension is geometrically identical to the previous design, crucially it offers a wider range of ride-height adjustment without the need to physically swap the pullrod component and brings the car closer to the legal weight limit.

RB have a new rear wing targeted at producing more efficient downforce than its predecessor, as well as a circuit-specific front wing for Canada, reducing the amount of overall load generated by the front wing to balance the use of low-drag rear wings set to be used in Montreal.

Sauber’s changes to the rear and beam wings for this weekend are described as circuit-specific, as is Haas’, whose less-cambered front wing flap will lower front load and thereby increase the efficiency of the front wing itself.

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