The development battle in Formula 1 is often focused on those teams fighting at the front, but design trends can often be inspired from outfits further back.
That is the case for the latest rear wing trend that more and more teams are adopting, with Alfa Romeo the latest to run a rear wing endplate concept that was originally inspired by Haas and has been used by Mercedes and Red Bull.
Heading into 2020, every team apart from Red Bull had focused their effort in this area of the endplate in an effort to find a better compromise between downforce and drag.
In most cases, this had resulted in the designers deploying slots in the surface to break it up and create strakes.
Their number, size and shape varied depending on how the designer wanted to 'work' the outer portion of the rear wing, with the airflow pattern capable of manipulating the tip vortex. This also worked in tandem with the upwash strikes above, breaking up the resultant pressure zone into more usable flow structures.
Haas became the first team to use a more expressive solution here, incorporating three sinuous louvres instead of the vertical strake design.
Red Bull has since taken inspiration from them, introducing a similar design at the Styrian GP. That rear wing idea has been on and off the car frequently ever since, as the team tries to settles on an aerodynamic package that it feels suits its RB16 the best.
Meanwhile, Mercedes also took note of the Haas design and added a tail-like lower section that begins at the base of the forward most strake and traverses all three strakes.
This forms the basis for the alterations subsequently seen on the Racing Point RP20, the Alfa Romeo C39 and the new endplate design introduced by Ferrari, which features a similar solution but doesn't have the tail section detached from the strakes.
As we can see in this side by side comparison, Alfa Romeo's strake design has been tailored to meet the requirements of now having a tail on the first element.