Max Verstappen is a formidable opponent who excels at overtaking on straights, but Formula 1 rivals have taken steps to reduce his advantage, focusing on improving the efficiency of their cars and wings. Mercedes struggled to keep up at first, but managed to develop a spoon-shaped mainplane design rear wing that provides good downforce with low drag, allowing the team to increase speed without sacrificing cornering ability. The wing’s outer chord portion reduces drag, which is then blended with the endplate. The leading edge of the upper flap is thicker until it meets the tip section, and the cut-out in the upper rear corner of the endplate returns as well. Mercedes built its wings with interchangeable panel sections, providing the ability to make quick adjustments to how the wing performs. George Russell‘s car wore the high downforce rear wing, while Lewis Hamilton‘s car was equipped with the new, lower downforce variant. Ultimately, both drivers switched to the new design, as it proved faster than the old one.
Ferrari’s back-to-back comparison testing plan looked at two rear wing specifications, one of them a newer version that featured a shape change for the mainplane and upper flap, as well as the endplate’s tip section. Most notably, the rear wing underwent a change from a double mounting pillar arrangement to a single pillar configuration. Although Ferrari briefly mounted the single pillar version on the car during free practice and observed excessive flex, the team intends to test it again. The central portion of the wing experiences different effects depending on the wing in use. The single pillar is bulkier and needs a crescent-shaped mounting that wraps around the exhaust, as well as a swan-neck arrangement to meet the DRS pod. Meanwhile, the twin pillars intersect with the underside of the mainplane.
Red Bull has initiated significant developments in the floor’s edge, partly to comply with regulation changes. The rear section of the elongated edge wing bears similarities to those seen on Mercedes and McLaren, but the forward section and the edge wing are treated differently. The edge wing features a twisted C-shaped profile that lies above a similarly contoured floor edge and cut-out, and these surfaces form a pair of winglets on either side of the cut-out.