In 2022, modern rules were introduced which instigated a clearly defined path for the development of the rear wing. The predominant design trend converged the upper component and mainplane into the rear wing endplate, incorporating a distinct curve in the process.
This strategy prioritized the reduction of turbulence caused by the rear wing by minimizing exposed edges. The absence of these edges curtailed the creation of tip vortices, a crucial factor for aerodynamics. This allowed experts to incorporate these vortices into the car’s wake and optimize downforce generation. Additionally, the amalgamation of wing vortices and the diffuser’s exit amplified the low-pressure area behind the car. This enhancement intensified the underbody flow’s acceleration, cultivating more downforce.
An endeavor was made to regulate this rear wing design through the 2022 rules. However, these regulations failed to quell the creativity of engineers dedicated to drawing out more performance from the wing.
Arguably the most radical iteration to date hails from AlphaTauri. They’ve managed to nearly fully detach the upper flap from the endplate, laying bare the wing tips. To maintain this exposure, the attachment points on the mainplane were slightly shifted inward. As a result, vortices are generated as the high-pressure air on top attempts to flow into the lower-pressure region beneath.
This design modification facilitates the extraction of increased downforce from the total rear wing assembly. Additionally, it strives to marry this to the effectiveness of the beam wing and diffuser. Given the Hungaroring’s reputation as being similar to Monaco in terms of downforce, the importance of this upgrade is clear.
Various teams have dabbled with the attachment points in a bid to unveil as many wing tips as possible and capitalize on additional performance. Aston Martin‘s model, in particular, shares a strong resemblance to AlphaTauri‘s, save for the fact that the top flap’s front corner seamlessly integrates into the wing’s body, concealing it.
Alfa Romeo‘s wing adopts an ingenious design with a tiny attachment spot reinforced by a metallic element. The wing tip, on the other hand, extends downwards, revealing a slightly more pronounced tip to mimic the effect of the rival teams.
The FIA‘s regulations emphasize that the Rear Wing Endplate Body and Rear Wing Tip, once fully conceptualized, must be fused to form a single volume void of overlapping surfaces. AlphaTauri alluded to this in its pre-race technical document, asserting that “the rear wing tip changes give an efficient increase in loading of the wing elements.”
Alongside these changes, the AT04 sports other enhancements such as a marginally elevated nose and a novel front wing. The car’s undercarriage has been reformatted to imbue the vehicle with additional downforce.