Winter Testing Secrets Missed in Technical Analysis

After three days of testing, F1 teams showcased innovative technical solutions, including Red Bull’s triple cooling inlet, Mercedes’ adjustable front suspension and innovative front wing, and McLaren’s cooling inlet winglet, all aimed at improving efficiency, stability, and performance for the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix.


‣ Red Bull’s RB20 features a unique “triple” cooling inlet system designed for increased efficiency and adaptability to different racing conditions, representing a significant aerodynamic innovation that is challenging for other teams to replicate.

‣ Mercedes introduced an innovative front axle on the W15, with a front suspension design that allows for adjustable levels of anti-dive to optimize mechanical and aerodynamic stability across various circuits, showcasing a blend of mechanical ingenuity and aerodynamic strategy.

‣ McLaren’s MCL38 incorporates a “little-wing” above the cooling inlet, a smart aerodynamic solution aimed at directing airflow towards the rear of the car to enhance downforce, while also allowing for a strategic arrangement of the upper side impact structure for improved cooling and performance.

After three days that can only be described as intense, all eyes in the F1 world shift from testing to the Bahrain Grand Prix. It’s like the calm after the storm, giving us the perfect moment to look back. We’ve seen some pretty interesting technical tweaks during those test days. Let’s dive into those, shall we?

### The RB20 with displaced cooling inlets
Red Bull really threw us a curveball. They introduced a “triple” cooling inlet, courtesy of Adrian Newey’s genius. Instead of one big inlet, we now have three smaller ones. Picture this: one vertical, sneaking in above the Venturi inlets, another lying flat under the “shark overbite,” and a square buddy right behind the driver. It’s like they decided to split up a band but ended up with three hit solo artists.

During the tests, it became clear why. It’s all about efficiency. Depending on the weather or the track, they can play around with these inlets, opening some, closing others. It’s a bit like dressing for the weather, but for an F1 car. This trick, borrowing a page from Mercedes’ book, won’t be easy for others to copy. It’s a whole different ball game in terms of where things are placed, especially with the radiators getting a top-shelf spot for better aerodynamics.

### Mercedes with an innovative front axle
Now, onto Mercedes. The team from Brackley didn’t hold back either. Their W15 is sporting some fresh ideas, especially around the front wing and suspension. The front wing’s job? To whip up a Y250 vortex, creating a low-pressure party under the Venturi channels.

But the real talk of the town is the front suspension. Imagine being able to tweak your car’s stance like adjusting a camera tripod. That’s what Mercedes did. They made it so the rear wishbone can attach at two different spots, changing how the car behaves under braking and how it slices through the air. It’s like having a Swiss Army knife when everyone else is carrying spoons.

This balancing act between mechanical grip and aerodynamic finesse is nothing short of wizardry. They’ve managed to make the car adaptable, with a tiny plate doing the heavy lifting in adjusting the anti-dive angle. It’s clever, adding a bit of weight but unlocking a whole new level of customization for different tracks.

### The “little-wing” on the MCL38
Last, but definitely not least, let’s talk about McLaren’s cooling inlet. They’ve gone and put a winglet above it, taking a leaf out of Mercedes’ 2023 playbook. This isn’t just any inlet; it’s a compact, square-shaped one, tucked away to avoid the front tires’ turbulent tantrums. This setup doesn’t just cool; it directs air like a maestro, boosting downforce at the back of the car.

And there’s more. This winglet arrangement allowed McLaren to rethink where they put the upper SIS (side impact structure). It’s now cozied up behind the winglet, a move reminiscent of Red Bull’s strategy with their RB18. It’s a two-for-one deal, improving cooling and performance.

So, there you have it. A sneak peek into the minds of F1’s finest engineers during testing. As the season unfolds, who knows what other innovations we’ll see? But one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a thrilling ride.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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