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Revealed! How to spot what an F1 team is trying to hide

The Ligier JS11 was one of Formula 1’s most competitive cars of 1979 and '80, winning three races and factoring in the hunt for both championships. One of the car’s key strengths was in its ground effects, and part of its success is down to an “illegal secret” spotted by technical illustrator Giorgio Piola. In this video, Piola explains the story of how he discovered Ligier’s hidden “clapet” valve system following a big crash for Jacques Laffite at Watkins Glen. Giorgio recounts a run-in with designer Gerard Ducarouge, and how the device helped the team explore the world of ground effects.

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Revealed: Mercedes cooling idea that F1 rivals are looking at

One of the fascinating aspects about the battle between Ferrari and Mercedes this year has been how their performance has swung between qualifying and the race. On Saturday, it has often been Ferrari that has had the edge, as it has been better able to extract more from its qualifying engine modes. For the races, however, it has been the Mercedes that has proved to have a better car, with improved tyre management often allowing Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to get ahead. Ferrari has been quite open that if it is to make the step forward it needs in 2020 then it needs to lift its game in looking after its tyres more. Reflecting on its strong run of...

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United States GP: Latest F1 tech updates, straight from pitlane

Giorgio Piola and Sutton Images bring you the Formula 1 technical updates on show in the Austin pitlane at the United States Grand Prix, giving insight into the relentless development undertaken by the teams in pursuit of more performance. Haas F1 Team VF-19, front wing Photo by: Giorgio Piola A side-by-side comparison of the new and old specification front wings that Haas will trial this weekend. The new wing (left) features a concept more skewed toward the outwash design trend, with the outer section of the flaps placed lower on the endplate, which now also features a cutout in the upper corner. Haas is trialling this design to establish its direction for 2020. Haas F1 Team VF-19, detail front wing...

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Tech verdict: How teams cruised through Mexico City’s altitude

The Mexican Grand Prix provided a significant challenge to drivers and teams alike, as the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez sits 2250m above sea level. This makes it an outlier on the Formula 1 calendar in terms of altitude, meaning teams had to focus their efforts differently in order to get close to their usual levels of performance. The rarefied air at this altitude is extremely punishing and would result in the drivers melting their power units if they chose to run cooling solutions ordinarily earmarked for track characteristics closer to sea level. Fortunately, the altitude also lessens the effect this has on the drag component that’s ordinarily encountered too, as can be seen by how teams wield high downforce wings at...

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Mexico Grand Prix Comments

  The Mexico GP was another beautiful race. It was very uncertain as the final outcome wasn’t clear until the very end. I think it was one of Hamilton’s most extraordinary races ever. At the start, the Ferraris took the lead. Hamilton did a very early change of tires which he wasn’t fully convinced of, but even when he doesn’t agree with the team’s strategy, he doesn’t let this get to him. He reasons with the staff, obeys what is being asked of him and always pushes to the maximum. It’s important to point out that his car was also severely damaged: it was missing more than 50 cm of the floor along the side that cost him 2-3 tenths...

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