Examined: The battle of the Singapore wings with Red Bull playing catch-up

Uros Radovanovic
Alpine A523 mechanical detail of the front wing. Belgian July 2023

Alpine A523 mechanical detail of the front wing.

Cruising past the ‘Queen of Speed,’ Formula 1 shifts gears to a whole new race – Singapore.

我们的欧洲之旅已经结束了,我们该g for an exciting global racing journey for the rest of the year. With its revamped track and fresh FIA rules, Singapore presents an intriguing challenge for F1 teams, favouring those who can adapt most effectively.

Let’s dive into some of the most significant technical details that can reveal who will pose the biggest threat to Red Bull in their quest for a 15th consecutive victory this year.

New layout and FIA testing changes

Before we tackle what the F1 teams have changed on their cars to adapt to this street circuit, let’s take note of the change to the track itself in Singapore.

Turns 16 to 19 have been replaced by a single straight, which will further speed up the entire track and reduce lap times by about 20 seconds. Although it may seem like a not-so-significant change at first glance, F1 engineers will not overlook it.

As Singapore is a street circuit with many slow corners, which means that teams use maximum downforce on their front and rear wings, the reduction of four corners will increase the impact of drag, which engineers will need to be cautious about. This change will certainly benefit Red Bull more compared to cars that perform well on high-downforce tracks like Mercedes and Aston Martin.

However, perhaps the more significant news is that starting from Singapore,the FIA is introducing a new technical directive – TD018. It changes the way the flexibility of the front and rear wings is measured. This means that flaps will no longer be able to flex in a localised manner, only uniformly.

The FIA is concerned that teams have been finding all sorts of ways to gain an advantage without breaking any rules. Until now, teams have designed and later connected parts of the front and rear wings in a way that allows them to flex under certain forces or speeds. By flexing, the wings occupied a smaller surface area, reducing drag and increasing the maximum speed of the car.

Rumours suggest that these changes could affect Mercedes and perhaps some other teams, but we should not put too much faith in them.

Red Bull’s new rear wing

Despite being far ahead of everyone this season, Red Bull continue to improve their car and thus its performance. This time, they have introduced something that other teams adopted several races earlier and simply joined this technical trend.

Namely, the rear wing now has a different appearance, with the most noticeable change being the cut on the top flap endplate. This feature was initially observed on AlphTauri cars among the first, and soon, other teams also went that way.

The main advantage of such a rear wing lies in its ability to prevent the formation of large vortices at the edges of the endplate. If you recall, these vortices were quite visible on the previous generation of F1 cars when the rear wing did not have such rounded edges.

By reducing these vortices, the car’s induced drag is reduced, thereby increasing its maximum speed. We can also see that teams like McLaren are still experimenting with this design, so Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will have the opportunity to test a different rear wing configuration during practice sessions.

Can Aston Martin and Mercedes threaten Red Bull?

Let’s remember the Monaco GP this year and how close Aston Martin came to victory. Fernando Alonso delivered a spectacular qualifying lap that was so close to pole position. What we can learn from this is that Aston Martin performs excellently on slow tracks, and we should definitely pay attention to them.

Aston Martin have designed their car to perform best with high-downforce specifications. This means that slow corners where high downforce is crucial suit them exceptionally well. Additionally, Aston Martin brought a new front wing to Singapore, which is claimed to give them an extra 0.3 seconds per lap.

On the image above, we can also notice the presence of Gurney flaps on the top plane, a feature that will help them gain even more downforce.

Apart from Aston Martin, we should not forget about Mercedes, which will surely benefit from Singapore. We believe that these two teams will definitely be closer to Red Bull; however, we will see if their performances will be good enough for victory.


Most F1 wins by engine: Ford still surprisingly high ahead of F1 return with Red Bull

Five big rule changes the FIA introduced to reel in dominant F1 teams

What about Ferrari?

Ferrari brought a completely new aerodynamic set-up for their car to their home race, which allowed them to briefly compete for the top spot. Their performances in Monza were much stronger compared to some previous weekends, earning them valuable points. However, Ferrari entered Singapore with lower public expectations.

Ferrari designed their car to favour high-speed races and high speeds. It’s evident that in Singapore, they won’t use the same front and rear wings as in Monza, raising questions about how the car will behave after such changes. Furthermore, we all know that Ferrari has clear issues with tyre management in races that require a high level of downforce.

This weekend will be challenging for them, and we’ll have to see if they can maintain their third place in theConstructors’ Championship.

Alpine Singapore updates

Among all the teams, the most significant improvements have definitely been brought by the French team. They have redesigned the sidepods intakes, sidepods, and mirror covers.

This season, we’ve seen Formula 1 engineers working extensively on sidepods, and they have become a primary source of ideas and innovations. Given today’s regulations and how modern cars function, including the way they generate downforce, sidepods play a crucial role alongside the car’s floor.

Alpine have replaced the square-edged inlets with a smoother geometry, a change that Mercedes made a few races ago.

更有趣的是设计的mirror covers, which is truly unusual. Although it may seem like a small detail, rear-view mirrors often have the potential to disrupt a car’s aerodynamics, so they require special attention. We haven’t seen this particular look before, and we can’t say with certainty what their primary role is. What is certain is that they will help the car function in the best and most efficient way.

Singapore – a race where anyone can win

We must not forget how demanding this circuit is, primarily due to the high temperatures and humid air. Drivers must undergo special training to prepare for such a challenge.

One thing is for sure – an entertaining and thrilling weekend awaits us. Singapore is a street race with narrow walls and little room for error, which can open up opportunities for any team. Additionally, there is a possibility of rain, which could remind us of some legendary races on this track.

Read next:Max Verstappen weighs in on possible effect of TD018 on Red Bull