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F1 ANALYSIS: Have Azerbaijan GP upgrades made Red Bull and Mercedes faster?

F1 ANALYSIS: Have Azerbaijan GP upgrades made Red Bull and Mercedes faster?

F1 News

F1 ANALYSIS: Have Azerbaijan GP upgrades made Red Bull and Mercedes faster?

F1 ANALYSIS: Have Azerbaijan GP upgrades made Red Bull and Mercedes faster?
Shubham Sangodkar

F1's spring break has produced a shake-up to the established order in the paddock with some teams making strides forwards and some teams still struggling to unlock performance.

With countless upgrades having been applied following the spring break, let's look at the aero updates brought by the top teams in order to tackle their main performance limitations after the first 3 races.

Red Bull

Red Bull received their first aero update package at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which is an extension of their existing wide-sidepod philosophy.

The sidepod cooling intake has a rectangular shape, like that of a letterbox as compared to the previous square design. The area of the intake looks similar but the aspect ratio has changed.

Red Bull's new sidepod design for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Credit @nicholasf1i

To account for this change in flowfield due to the new sidepod shape, further tweaks to the floor edge and the floor fences have been made, aimed at reducing losses and increasing load from the floor.

The wide-sidepod is also able to provide larger cooling options as the teams go to different tracks.

In general, it seems that the wide-sidepods help to treat the front wheel wake more effectively and provide higher energy air to the rear of the car.


After a disappointing start to the 2023 season, Mercedes promised a series of updates for the upcoming races.

At Baku, the team brought a new Rear Wing Endplate with subtle changes to the wing tip and endplate surfaces to shed drag especially in crosswind conditions.

Mercedes have brought technical upgrades to Baku

A lower deflector endplate trim was also introduced which is intended to produce cleaner endplate flow increasing local load from the diffuser and the floor.

Additionally, new front suspension fairings have been introduced, improving the flow conditioning to the flow for various yaw, roll and steer attitudes of the car.


McLaren endured a disappointing start to the 2023 season, vowing to bring in a raft of updates onto the car in time for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The first of those major upgrades has already been applied with the MCL60 now sporting a new floor.

This floor is rumoured to align itself more towards Red Bull's floor philosophy resulting in a significant change in local suction distribution as well as floor vortex structure positioning and strengths resulting in an overall gain of load.

McLaren have introduced a new rear-wing structure for Baku – Credit @albertfabrega

McLaren's 2023 challenger has been incredibly inefficient. To tackle that, the Woking-based outfit brought a new rear wing mainplane, rear wing flap, beam wing upper and lower elements to Baku.

As the rear wing and the beam wing largely interact with each other, any significant decrease in drag would require them to work together to decrease overall drag which is clearly what the team have targeted.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin have enjoyed a phenomenal start to the 2023 season during the first three rounds after they made huge steps in performance as compared to last year.

However, a clear weakness of the team remains its top speed. To tackle this performance limitation the team brought a new rear wing to Baku.

Aston Martin have also contributed a new rear-wing for the Azerbaijan GP – Credit @albertfabrega

The rear wing mainplane is less loaded along with a smaller flap which smoothly transitions into a more efficient endplate design.

The intention is to reduce the overall drag of the car and improve its efficiency for speed-sensitive tracks like Baku.

Shubham Sangodkar is a former F1 Aerodynamicist with a Master's in Racing Car Design specialising in F1 Aerodynamics and F1 Data Analysis. He also posts content on his YouTube channel, which can be found here.

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