Red Bull introduced a Formula 1 floor upgrade at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, altering the detail of the outer edges and rear corner area in front of the rear tyre.
This area is critical to the performance of the underfloor, which contributes a significant proportion of the car’s downforce.
Normally the low pressure created under the car will try to pull airflow in underneath the car reducing the performance of the diffuser and in turn that reduces the performance of the underfloor.
Toro Rosso (see inset) ran something similar in this area last year with a part introduced at September’s Italian Grand Prix.
These vanes on the outer edge of the floor and the detail of the rear corner of the floor work like a skirt, sealing that area from leakage.
The airflow being displaced by the rear tyre rotating onto the track surface connects up to this area and this displaced air pulls the airflow across the top of the floor through the vanes and out around the outside of the tyre contact patch.
In the past, sealing the tyre and floor gap was critical and some teams even used the maximum floor deflection they could get away with in this area to help seal the underfloor.