Sixty-one years after the last entry of an Aston Martin in Grand Prix, the English brand is back in Formula 1. A comeback which is also a continuation since the DNA of the AMR21 comes from last year’s Racing Point. . Except that by virtue of the regulations, it is the single-seater that has evolved the most compared to last year. Explanations.
THE NEWEST F1 2021
Remember. Last year, the Racing Point team had taken a volley of green wood for having shamelessly – but not without aplomb – the aerodynamic concept of the Mercedes W10. Today, his descendant, now adorned with a “British racing green” of the best taste, can no longer deny his lineage.
However, this green Mercedes is the only completely new chassis on the 2021 grid. F1 2021 technical regulations, the teams must keep most of their old chassis, which they have been able to partially retouch thanks to a token system allowing roughly speaking to change either the front of the car or the rear, but not both. With the exception of Aston Martin, which modified its monohull and its gearbox. By what sleight of hand?
Undera strangeness of the regulation, a team that buys “unlisted” 2020 parts (like the gearbox) from another team can install these parts without having to spend any tokens. Thus, AlphaTauri could have used the transmission of the RB16 without consuming any token, but it preferred keep your box on the AT02. A caution that Aston Martin did not have, which benefited from this free update and took the opportunity to manufacture a new monohull.
A GREEN MERCEDES W11
As seen in the image above, the Aston Martin has high air intakes, a concept introduced in 2017 by Ferrari and adopted by all teams last year… except Racing Point. It had indeed decided to faithfully copy the Mercedes W10, which had low air intakes.
On the AMR21, the reference is rather the W11, whose entrances were enhanced. With high air inlets, the opening (circled in red) is placed above the deformable structure, while it is located below with low inlets.
Silverstone engineers adopted this design for two reasons.
First of all, this configuration frees as much as possible the space located under the air inlet of the pontoons. Called “undercut”, this zone fulfills a decisive mission from an aerodynamic point of view. Simplifying a lot: the more air there is passing under this opening, the more the flow is energized and remains attached to the surface (1). This form, which is advantageous from the aerodynamic point of view, requires the deformable structure (a carbon bar responsible for absorbing the energy of a possible side impact) to be lowered.
In addition, the monocoque has also been redesigned to better cool the Mercedes V6:
“Last year, we realized quite early that our cooling system was inefficient, explains the team principal Otmar szafnauer. We weren’t cooling the powertrain as well as we should have. It is therefore to benefit from more efficient cooling that we have spent our tokens. ”
Unlike the other teams, Aston Martin has disclosed almost all of its machine, including the edges of the flat bottom – a particularly critical area this season (with the diffuser, concealed). Thanks to Lance Stroll for giving the green light….
As seen above, the front of the AMR21 has evolved in small touches. The nose seems thinner, while the “bargeboards” have gained even more complexity. The front wing subtly changes profile by accentuating the ascent then the descent towards the lateral fin (compare the areas indicated by the yellow arrows).
At the back, it’s more complicated. As we know, the new dimensions of the diffuser and the flat bottom imposed by the regulations (cutting of the flat bottom, reduction of the deflectors in the diffuser, reduction of the fins attached to the rear brake scoops) will have a considerable impact on the performance of cars, since the base and the diffuser alone generate nearly 60% of the total support of a Formula 1.
To regain lost downforce (the FIA’s intention was to achieve a 10% drop), Aston Martin’s aerodynamicists did not go green but worked hard:
“We spent the winter trying to recover the losses caused by the settlement, Explain Andrew Green who was at the origin of another iconic green F1 today. This is where we have concentrated our efforts, especially since the rules were changed late and in two stages. We had to react very quickly. ”
A FLAT BOTTOM COVERED WITH FINS
A series of fins and other deflectors were thus installed on the flat bottom to compensate for part of the losses.
As can be seen by examining the image above, three small vertical deflectors were placed just before the cut area (yellow arrows). Their role ? Generate small vortices (shown in yellow) along the base to help seal the edges of the diffuser, as did the notches and notches now prohibiteds. We saw on the AlphaTauri AT02 a fairly close configuration.
In front of the rear wheels was placed a fence of six small vertical deflectors (red arrows). Here again, their mission is to deflect the air flow and produce small vortices in order to counteract the turbulence caused by the rotation of the rear wheels (the famous “Tire squirt”). Until this year, the part now removed from the flat bottom protected the diffuser from these disturbances.
Finally, on the inside face of the wheel, the traditional tongue has been split (blue arrows). The two elements serve to generate vortices which shield the turbulence caused by the rotation of the impeller and which, in so doing, seal the diffuser.