Ferrari and Williams join F1's Z-shaped floor gang

Ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Formula 1 grid has been split right down the middle in terms of the way they approach the new floor regulations.

Ferrari and Williams join F1's Z-shaped floor gang

Half of the grid has been using Z-shaped floor cutouts, whereas the other half favoured the fully tapered option.

However, as so often happens in grand prix racing, one solution often becomes the preferred option – and for this weekend at Imola two more teams have joined the Z-shaped gang.

Read Also:

Floor tweaks

As with every rule change there’s an opportunity to either follow the classic interpretation of the regulations or find ways around it to boost performance.

For 2021, that battle is being fought on the edge of the floor where the FIA intended there to be a simple tapered edge ahead of the rear tyre. This, in combination with a package of other changes, was hoped to reduce downforce by around 10 percent.

The teams were having none of it though and set about finding ways to recover their losses, with the floor seen as a large piece in that jigsaw puzzle.

Four teams settled on the Z-shaped floor cutout solution during pre-season testing, with Alpine joining their ranks at the first race, as we revealed here.

But, at just the second race of the season, we have two more teams breaking rank, with the solution now seen on the Ferrari and Williams cars too.

 

Ferrari tested the new floor solution on Carlos Sainz’s car during FP1, whilst Charles Leclerc continued to gather data for the team with the old specification (inset). This back-to-back analysis is incredibly important as the team looks to establish whether the new parts provide the performance that its simulation tools obviously suggested would be the case.

Aside from the obvious Z-shaped floor cutout there are also changes in terms of the topside aero devices used to move the airflow across the floor’s surface. The trio of fins mounted midway down the floor have been removed (red arrow, inset), whilst a new fin creates an aerodynamic fulcrum where the cutout begins (blue arrow).

 

It’s a similar story for Williams, as it too has the Z-shaped floor arrangement at the second race of the season.

Like the other teams using this solution, it also added a trio of fins next to the forward section of the cutout to help amplify the effect that it’s creating.

However, it has also retained the trio of fins that it added in the middle of their floor at the first race in Bahrain.

Read Also:

Making it personal

Even with seven teams having now decided that the Z-shaped cutout is a design concept worth pursuing, there is, of course, a varying degree of solutions amongst them. So, let’s take a look at each of them and the fully tapered alternatives too...

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Mercedes tried its best to throw rivals off the scent when it unveiled the W12, going as far as to cover up this area of the car. However, once out in the limelight, it was clear it had forsaken some of the available floor space in favour of the Z-shaped cutout.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Red Bull also opted for the Z-shaped cutout but its interpretation sees even more floor removed in order to return to a more parallel edge. Also note the row of fins it has alongside the sidepod to help nurture the discarded airflow and then use it to maximise the performance of the floor.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Aston Martin is already on its second Z-shaped floor variation, having extended the cutout and parallel section as part of their revamp in Bahrain. It’s the most aggressive variant on the grid now and has also been combined with two rows of fins around the forward cutout as it looks for ways to mitigate the issues that appear to have hurt the low rake runners the most.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

AlphaTauri made no attempt to disguise its Z-shaped cutout when it launched its car, even if it tried to obscure other aspects. For the second round of the championship it has an update too, as a cluster of outwardly angled fins have been added to the section ahead of the cutout as it looks to work the floor even harder.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Alpine joined the Z-shaped floor brigade in Bahrain and has combined the cutout with just a singular fin but did test various variations, whilst also testing a variety of strake solutions ahead of the rear tyre too.

 

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

The Z-shaped floor cutout solution trialled on Sainz’s Ferrari SF21 during FP1.

 

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

George Russell getting a taste of the new Z-shaped floor cutout on his Williams FW43B during FP1

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

McLaren was the first team to test a 2021 specification floor during last year’s campaign and remain steadfast at this point in using the fully tapered solution.

 

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Alfa Romeo also has the fully tapered floor solution, although it has lined up a selection of fins close to the point where the floor begins to taper in an effort to trigger a compound effect.

 

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

As we know, Haas have suggested that its focus is on 2022 and, whilst there have been developments on the VF21, the floor has not been cut back in the way some of it rivals have.

shares
comments

Related video

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying – Start time, how to watch, channel
Previous article

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying – Start time, how to watch, channel

Next article

Leclerc: "Difficult to believe" Ferrari so close to top teams

Leclerc: "Difficult to believe" Ferrari so close to top teams
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021