Analysis: Racing Point address RP19 compromise with suspension update | F1 technology

Did Lance Stroll not think much of Racing Point’s upgrade at the Circuit de Catalunya? The new parts had only been on his car for an hour when he smashed them up against the barrier at turn nine.Fortunately, the cash injection which came the team’s way after his father’s consortium bought them last year meant…

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Did Lance Stroll not think much of Racing Point’s upgrade at the Circuit de Catalunya? The new parts had only been on his car for an hour when he smashed them up against the barrier at turn nine.

Fortunately, the cash injection which came the team’s way after his father’s consortium bought them last year meant they had sufficient replacements on hand for Stroll to use the upgrade again from Saturday.

Although the biggest effect of the increased investment in Racing Point will once its new factory is built, the team is also making up for lost time with its 2019 car, which was early in gestation when the team went into administration last July.

The car’s initial design was handicapped as the team did not know how much money, if any, could be spent on it. And only now are they able to put in the full development the bring the car up to speed.

For Barcelona there was a major update to the car, which the team’s technical director Andy Green was quite modest about. “It’s mainly around the front of the car,” he said. “All-new front suspension. That’s the main area that’s quite visible. There’s also some changes around the front of the floor and brake ducts.”

Racing Point suspension, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Racing Point suspension, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

The team started the year effectively running the 2018 monocoque converted to run higher-mounted front suspension. The first version of its 2019 front suspension was a clever conversion, albeit with a fairly crude top wishbone pivot.

Now the entire suspension has been redesigned. The geometry change is hard to detect, but the engineering around the top wishbone is much cleaner. Now the wishbone meets the upright inside the wheel with a Mercedes-style pivot (1) on top of a elegant swan-neck upright extension coming out of the wheel. This possibly raises the wishbones even higher out of the airflow than the early-season design, which is better for airflow under the suspension to the bargeboards.

With this change the brake duct is also revised (2), there being a neater rounded duct, complete with its internal splits to feed the different brake components inside the wheel.

Racing Point bargeboards, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Racing Point bargeboards, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

As Green explained, the floor is also different. The bargeboard area features revisions which are familiar from other cars. The tops of the main bargeboards are split into more individual surfaces, the first section (1) having four separate fins each with tops their tops curled over. Then the subsequent panels are also broken up into an extra surface (2). At floor level the footplates are reshaped (3) and there’s an extra vane mounted behind them.

While these are typical race-by-race bargeboard changes, the specific changes in Barcelona are likely to be have been developed to be sympathetic to the change on airflow from the revised front suspension.

The Circuit de Catalunya has never been a particularly strong race for this team so there is unlikely to be great alarm that this upgrade coincided with their first point-less finish of the season.

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