Sauber F1 Upgrades – Monaco Grand Prix
After being forced to delay its major upgrade by a race, with aerodynamicists desiring extra time in the wind tunnel to fine tune it, Sauber finally revamped its C36 in many areas for Monaco, while other teams produced track specific upgrades. Strangely, although there was a significant step forward in Spain, where a lack of development was undertaken, the team struggled badly in Monaco, despite the new parts broadly working as expected. This would suggest that, like Renault and Mercedes, the Swiss team struggled to get the tyres into the correct operating window.
The most visual change to the C36 was mid-way along the chassis, where a single airflow conditioner, run for the first five races, has been replaced by a much more complex array of parts, which closely resembles that on the Mercedes W08, in a similar area.
The original airflow conditioner has been retained, although it now stops short of the floor, instead terminating part way down the sidepod. A further element has been added just ahead of it, of similar length, while a third element, which extends right down to floor level, has been attached to the back of the bargeboard. This marks a change in direction from Sauber, and a much more aggressive approach.
Previously, the sole airflow conditioner not only framed air around the sidepod, such that it remained attached to its surface, but it also used its base to direct the front tyre wake away from the car, for improved rearward aerodynamic performance.
Now, these functions have been split across three parts, with the rear two elements performing the first, and the most forward element dealing with the front tyre wake. This turbulent air is now influenced much further forward, the result of which will be cleaner air at the front of the floor, which inevitably improves performance right to the rear of the C36.
At the rear of the C36, the floor has been modified, with an extra slot being added, larger than those further forward, while Sauber has also designed a floor scroll directly in front of the rear tyre, like McLaren use on their MCL32.
The purpose of the new slot is twofold – firstly, parallel to the diagonal component, a vortex will be shed as high pressure air spills over to a lower pressure region on the underside of the floor. This will draw air towards it, reducing the area of rear tyre which impacts with the oncoming flow, with the purpose of reducing the negative effects of tyre squirt, where air is directed laterally into the diffuser’s path by the rear wheel.
The function of the part parallel to the rear tyre is less clear, although it may be directing the higher pressure, lower velocity and lower energy airflow above the floor below it, reducing the velocity of air colliding with the rear tyre, again lowering the downside of tyre squirt.
Having run with a T-Wing for the majority of the season, and updating it in Russia, a lower element has been added by Sauber for Monaco. The only other team to use a lower T-Wing is Williams, but their one is a single element. This device appears to be aimed at direct downforce production, as well as aiding the performance of the rear wing.
The outer parts of the wing are shaped upwards, and will direct airflow emanating from the rear cooling outlets, and flowing across the top surface of the sidepods, upwards, aiding flow attachment to the underside of the rear wing for greater downforce consistency. There may be some downforce production directly, as airflow accelerates through the narrow gap between the elements, creating a pressure differential between the top and bottom surfaces of the upper element. The lower element’s underside will have its pressure lowered by the energetic exhaust gases leaving the rear cooling outlets. This is likely to be a Monaco specific part for Sauber, as it cannot afford to run with the extra drag at other circuits, thanks to its under-powered powertrain.
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