In the course of the run of 2021 automobile launches this yr, the lengths that some groups went to to cover their new concepts turned a giant speaking level.
Mercedes and McLaren each blanked out areas of their automobiles in launch photos, whereas AlphaTauri launched renders of its 2021 automobile with a very completely different nostril and suspension design.
Pink Bull went a step additional by holding again on publishing any photos of its new RB16B from a filming day at Silverstone.
Whereas the lengths the groups went to to maintain issues non-public stunned some onlookers, for the groups concerned the state of affairs was truly fairly typical.
Alpine F1 chassis technical director Pat Fry says the pace by which rivals groups can copy concepts made it a no brainer to not exhibit good concepts till groups completely needed to.
“I feel it’s only a level to precept, greater than something, to be trustworthy,” mentioned Fry.
“You by no means give something away. I have been taught that for 30 years, so I discover it onerous to alter now.
“In actuality I might see one thing on somebody’s automobile, and if it is a completely different fence or a unique form or ground, I might be testing that within the tunnel in two days and have it on the automobile in per week. So I feel there’s that.
“A big, giant rule change has occurred, and though it’s a very restricted a part of the automobile, will probably be fairly simple to react and see if somebody has received one thing that is working higher than everybody else.
“I feel it is simply the character of System 1 is not it?
“All of us suppose we’re intelligent and all of us try to cover what we’re doing, after which we are going to learn how fast we’re come the Bahrain race will not we.”
Pat Fry, Alpine System 1 workforce
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
McLaren’s motivation for protecting its diffuser secret was made clear in pre-season testing when it emerged with a clever design concept to permit it to run with bigger strakes than rival groups.
The workforce’s technical director James Key reckoned rivals can be shortly making an attempt out the idea within the windtunnel and will tweak their very own designs inside a matter of weeks.
“I feel the primary port of name with any concept you see out there may be CFD, so I feel you’ll be able to bounce on an concept that you simply spot on one other workforce inside per week simply these days,” he defined.
“I suppose if there’s nonetheless curiosity after per week, whether or not it is our diffuser or Mercedes’ fringe of ground element or no matter it’s, I feel you will get a really feel for issues fairly fast.
“Then it is actually understanding the way it works together with your automobile. That is the important thing to this.
“You’ll be able to then find yourself with a novel geometry of your individual since you would possibly perceive the precept, however then it’s important to adapt it accordingly that it really works together with your automobile.
“The diffuser state of affairs for instance can be very steady in that atmosphere as effectively.
“So that you’d most likely due to this fact wind tunnel take a look at it, which is perhaps per week or two down the road, after which you have to manufacture it.
“These specific steps are fairly easy.
“So you could possibly say between three and 5 weeks between taking the image and placing it on the automobile in the event you actually needed to push this by means of.”