F1 technical update: Mercedes, McLaren, AlphaTauri & Racing Point

Giorgio Piola
·2-min read

Mercedes

The reliability gremlins that Mercedes faced in the first race of the season in Austria, caused by the vibrations from the kerbs, now seem like a distant memory after a flawless performance in Hungary.

The team was able to react positively and make changes for the Styrian GP that reduced the possibility of any failures going forward. The issues that plagued the first race weekend were a consequence of the new rear suspension geometry, with the front leg of the lower wishbone placed higher than before and the rear leg (red arrow, main image above) placed much further back than usual. 

The loads, vibrations and oscillations put through this novel arrangement is believed to have created ‘noise’ that interfered with the gearbox sensors.

To prevent a repeat of the situation the team made numerous alterations, including adding shielding and moving the wiring looms that were affected.

AlphaTauri AT01 t-wing

AlphaTauri AT01 t-wing<span class="copyright">Giorgio Piola</span>
AlphaTauri AT01 t-wingGiorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri continues to look for pockets of performance rather than follow the crowd, and at the rear of the AT01 it has a single rear wing support pillar and T-Wing.

Aside from Mercedes, which has two rear wing mounting variants, AlphaTauri is the only team to run with just the single pillar configuration. This is a decision that not only has an impact on weight but also aerodynamic performance. It has also allowed the option of a winglet above the exhaust too.

Racing Point

Racing Point RP20 front brake drum

Racing Point RP20 front brake drum<span class="copyright">Giorgio Piola</span>
Racing Point RP20 front brake drumGiorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front brake

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front brake<span class="copyright">Giorgio Piola</span>
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front brakeGiorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola

As Formula 1 heads for Silverstone the debate regarding the design of this year’s Racing Point rages on. As expected, Renault protested the result of the Hungarian GP, so if RP is found guilty of infringing the technical and sporting regulations it will lose the points accrued during those races.

The crux of Renault’s protest is not of the entire car, although everyone has drawn conclusions on how similar it is to last year’s Mercedes, it is instead focused on the Racing Point’s brake ducts (above left), which are a listed part for 2020. Mercedes' 2019 design is shown above right.

Again, the contention is not only based on the similarity of the external features of the two, which as you can see from the illustrations are extremely similar, it’s also about how closely aligned their internal makeup might (or might not) be.