A technical analysis of the updates the teams brought to the 2019 British GP. There were no major updates brought here, however still some interesting changes. Mercedes have also said they will bring some larger updates to the next race in Germany.
McLaren, along with other teams including Renault and Red Bull ran a rear wing with a gurney flap. The gurney flap is a short flat plate, attached to the trailing edge of the higher pressure side of the wing as a device to increase downforce.
It works by causing the formation of a vortices in front of the gurney flap and two counter rotating vortices behind it. The rearward vortices reduce the adverse pressure gradient near the trailing edge, which delays or stops flow separation. The vortices also increase the speed of the flow over the lower surface. Where as the flow over the top surface is slowed. Thus, increasing downforce. The rear vortices can be thought of as an extension of the wing, effectively creating a wing with a longer chord.
Their front wing received some minor updates too. Firstly the outermost under wing strake, teams are now limited to just two, has been shortened. Secondly, the position the first element meets the end plate has been lowered, whilst maintaining some curvature (the elements height front the ground varies in the span-wise direction). The element joining the end plate lower down will strengthen the vortex formed at the lower edge of the end plate.
McLaren also added some small turning vanes in the top of the floor, which continues to help direct the low energy wheel wake away from the car. There will also be vortices produced off the edge of each of theses vanes. These will also add to the ‘outwash’ the vanes create.
Mercedes reduced the size of their cooling flow outlets for the British GP. As the temperatures in the UK were lower than in Austria, less mass flow of air was required to allow enough heat transfer from components needing cooling. Thus they ran smaller cooling flow outlets, as running larger than necessary just results in unnecessary drag.
Having not had a foot plate that ran the full length of the front wing end plate previously, Racing Point cut it even shorter. The foot plate acts as a kind of housing for the vortex that forms there. So cutting it shorter will then allow it to start to drive outwash sooner than leaving if it were the full length of the end plate. This was tested but not raced, with the team reverting back to the longer, but still not full length, foot plate. This could be due to the shorter foot plate resulting in earlier breakdown of the vortex.
The floor had extra support added to reduce flexion under load. This will help with driveability by making the rear downforce more steady and predictable. If the floor is flexing excessively it will lead to variations in rear downforce and as a result variations in the centre of pressure (aerodynamic balance).
An updated mirror housing was brought to Silverstone by the team from Grove. The main feature of this new mirror is a downward curved wing section above the mirror which will create a downwash over the side pods. They also now have a wing section above the side pod, similar to that of the Red Bull. It curves up towards the tip in order to reduce the strength of the tip vortex.