From McLaren's suspicious diffuser to Alpine's hump

The most striking technical solutions of F1 in 2021 include the flat bottom of Mercedes or the high 'rake' of a very promising Alpha Tauri.

The 2021 rules in Formula 1 are difficult to interpret, because they force a high percentage of the 2020 car to be frozen but allow teams to violate the regulations through tokens, and each team can use them in different areas. Almost all have targeted the rear axle by means of new suspensions, gearboxes or diffusers. There have not been enormous innovations this year, the controversial DAS that generated debate in the paddock has no successor, but several elements can be highlighted, along with its technical explanations.McLaren: the most interesting diffuser on the grill regulation in this section of the car keeping it closer to the ground, when the original idea of the standard was just the opposite. For James Key, McLaren technical director, "It is a normal design idea and it really comes as a surprise to the team that no one else has opted for this solution." The Englishman believes that "any team could take him to the track in five weeks" if they are interested in the concept or an intermediate solution.

Mercedes: a flat spiral bottom

It was hidden in the presentation and there were reasons: the edge of the Mercedes flat bottom, spiraling, is one of the most innovative F1 has seen recently. This is another of the points altered by the 2021 regulation to reduce the downforce of the cars by around 10%. Mercedes has wanted to redirect all those air flows that are lost by limiting the size of the ground so that they continue to support the car in the curves. "The W12 changes little, but from an aerodynamic point of view the new rules are a huge change," says James Key, Brackley's technical director.

Alpine: hump works for them

The old Renault has been reconfigured in its rear midsection. To compress the area of the gearbox, the air intake above the driver's head has been widened and has a certain hump-like air, as in McLaren. Although "a bit embarrassing," in the words of Chief Marcin Budkowki, the bulging air intake "works." "It's a technical choice, we've repositioned the bulkiest parts of the car and positioned behind the air intake. It looks like a big hump, but it works for us. The center of gravity is compromised, but aerodynamic performance is compromised. they compensate, "he explains. Alonso and Ocon's Alpine A521 is not aesthetic, but functional.

Alpha Tauri: the most aggressive rake

The 'rake' is the angle of inclination that the car has with respect to the asphalt. Teams play with this variable because it allows them to greatly vary the behavior of a car by varying degrees slightly, although the risks are enormous because it fully affects the design of a car. The Alpha Tauri, Red Bull's brother, takes this concept further with aggressive heights for Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. The AT02 is one of the most refined and spectacular cars on the grid, it may be the revelation of the season in a highly competitive mid-zone.Ferrari: the old new nose of the SF21

Sainz and Leclerc's car has some collage and not only because of the change of colors. Its rear axle is new and interesting, they claim that they have solved the oversteer problems that made the car unstable when cornering. At the front, the nose and spoiler have changed slightly but still maintain the wide architecture. Only they, Haas and Williams still opt for a nose of these characteristics, while the rest of the grid ended up approaching the narrow Mercedes concept. Renault did it in 2020, McLaren at the end of the same year. Ferrari has firm principles and has not changed them with the SF21, although they incorporate some air intakes that have been very satisfactory, they tell from the garage.

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