Tech insight: The team using spy cams to gain 2020 head start

Tech insight: The team using spy cams to gain 2020 head start

11/29/2019

Formula 1’s teams have had their 2020 cars in development for a number of months now and, while they have an inordinate amount of historic data at their disposal, there’s one significant piece of the puzzle that has a huge question mark over it – the tyres.

Pirelli is set to introduce a new, more durable, tyre in 2020, which will not only change the racing and strategy, it will also have an impact on the behaviour of the car and the surrounding airflow. 

In this respect Red Bull is just one team looking to use the post-race test in Abu Dhabi as a way of finding a lasting advantage over their rivals, as it has outfitted its car with additional infra-red camera equipment to study the behaviour of the tyres. Due to testing rules, it has done so in a fashion similar to Mercedes pulled off last year, when it ran a sensor array on its floor.

Click on the arrows on the image below to scroll through the full explanation…

Red Bull Racing RB15, sidepod-mounted cameras

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Fitted on the front face of the sidepod bodywork are a pair of cameras, which are tasked with collecting information throughout Free Practice on the 2019 tyres and during the post-race test on the 2020 rubber.

Red Bull Racing RB15, sidepod-mounted cameras

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This data can then be studied side-by-side in order that the team can build a clearer picture of how the tyre behaves, both mechanically and aerodynamically.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

As teams are only able to complete the test in the same specification as they race this weekend it’s not the first time we’ve seen this forward-thinking approach taken, as Mercedes looked to profit from the tactic last year with its row of floor-mounted pitot tubes beneath the ‘A’ and ‘X’ of PRIMAX logo.

Racing Point RP19, detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Following on from Mercedes’ lead last year, Racing Point has fitted a similar kiel probe array to the floor RP19 for Abu Dhabi, which will likely be retained throughout the weekend in order that it’s available for the test.

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, detail front wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Not to be outdone by counterparts, Mercedes has arrived with a revised front wing to test in Abu Dhabi too. The wing, seen from above here, features a pair of upper flaps in the outermost immovable section that have been pared back, signaling a desire to reduce the load and tip vortex being created.

 

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