Racing Point sidepods, Hockenheimring, 2019

Analysis: New sidepods are first step in Racing Point upgrade

F1 technology

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This time 12 months ago Racing Point – Force India as it was known at the time – was plunging into administration. A year on from those tough weeks, the team is in a much stronger position.

Now with secure investment the RP19’s development is continuing at pace. In Germany the team began introducing an upgrade package which will be spread over a series of events. The first step focuses on aerodynamic changes to the sidepods, mirrors and bargeboards, with more to come at subsequent races.

The team has introduced a new concept with its sidepods. These are not simply shrunken versions of the early-season spec.

The earlier spec took the undercut under the sidepod inlet and led it all the way back to the exit at the tail of the coke bottle shape. Now the sidepod contours follow that similar to Red Bull, with the undercut soon meeting a rounded jelly-mould shaped sidepod (1), before the undercut returns at the tail of the sidepod. The cooling exit formed at the back is now narrower and higher, with more of the outlet formed around the exhausts, creating less blockage in between the rear wheels.

The sidepod’s inlet area, which is bounded by the internal crash structures, is not changed, but the fin attached to the chassis side that aided airflow into the sidepod’s undercut has been removed. Additionally, the geometry of the horizontal fin (2) above the sidepod inlet is reshaped to suit the revised sidepod shape. Attached to this fin are new mirrors (3), these are following the current trend of a mirror pod bounded by fins, with the aim that the fins help direct airflow over the sidepod top, while disguised as part of the mirror housing.

As well as the sidepods the bargeboards and floor edge are also changed. The bargeboard tops formed of the three fins (4) rising up behind the boomerang are now folder over to provide a little downwash. Plus, the footplate area is revised, the scrolled sections are reshaped with a larger opening behind them (5). Further aiding outwash effect from the bargeboards is the floor edge where the longitudinal slot (6) starts earlier towards the floor leading edge.

This will be a useful collection of changes, mainly in anticipation of the larger changes due at the next races. With the midfield so close and the summer break looming, it is essential for the team that updates like this keep coming and are able to work out of the box.

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Craig Scarborough
Craig Scarborough is RaceFans' new technical contributor for 2019....

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  • 3 comments on “Analysis: New sidepods are first step in Racing Point upgrade”

    1. Very nice graphic there, Craig. The yellow outlines help a lot in seeing the exact shape of the part you’re referring to.

    2. Fascinating articles, always. I do wish there were archives of similar stuff going back to at least the start of the ground effect era but sadly F1 was far too fast moving for the times, and many little details were lost in the pre-instant comms era.

      I feel it is exactly the ephemeral nature of these aero updates that make them so interesting as you never know where the next great idea may come from, and I’m very glad we are unlikely to miss it with guys like Scarbs and Piola going to great lengths to keep us in the loop.

      An aside: generally in these aero update articles there’s always a couple of posters pointing out the futility/wastefulness of teams spending millions on seemingly minor mods. I can see their point, but surely this is better than stasis? As it is with the sheer amount of prescriptive rules cars haven’t really changed a whole lot appearance wise in an awfully long time, so we should appreciate the creativity of some of the biggest brains out there doing what they can, surely?

    3. I’m not well-versed enough in engineering to pretend knowing all these things, but there are two things that could be noticed this weekend with the RP’s — first, they’re faster, but second, both Perez and Stroll seemed to have had some handling issues.

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