After the Hungarian Grand Prix there was a two day test session for all but one of the Formula 1 teams.

Haas Formula 1 decided to opt out as they decided their time was best spent back at base evaluating all the data gathered from a fairly exhausting few weeks on the road.

Eleven drivers from the remaining nine teams took part with many of the teams' test drivers getting a chance to explore the limits of the cars as they were driven in the Grand Prix.

Most of the time over the two days was taken up with new parts testing. Those new parts very much aimed at the 2019 F1 season as the teams now, if they haven't started already, turn their minds to the new car designs.


Between them many hundreds of laps and thousands of kilometres were completed and terabytes of data was collected to be fed to those very clever data engineers just waiting, prowling the offices back at base in breathless anticipation, salivating at the thought of ripping in to all that new stream of stored data begging to be analysed and utilised. To see, in real time and in real conditions, if the CFD and wind tunnel work translates to the on-track experience.

Apart from all the unseen, under the bodywork changes and the power unit development going on the most obvious development was the appearance of the 'new and improved' front wing assemblies on the Williams, Red Bull and Force India cars.

As the well publicised regulations state, these newly designed wings are intended to help overtaking or at least reduce the problem of 'dirty air' or 'aero wash' or 'wake turbulence', call it what you like, and the resultant vortices that make it almost impossible for one car to follow another closely. The same principles that prevent one aircraft closely following another on airport take off.

I am not sure the casual observer will notice much difference in the before and after images but, according to the FIA boffins, there will be a significant difference on track.

The new wings are actually 20 centimetres wider which, when you look at the chaos that goes on at the start of most races, may mean that even more bits of wing will be shed by cars bumping into each other. More damage, more debris on track, more urgent pit stops in the first handful of laps and more punctures. Added to that the wings will be 25 mm deeper (further forward at the leading edge) so they will be even more in harm's way.

The wings will also be denuded of many, if not all, of the turning vanes both above and under the wings that have been designed and developed to move the airflow around the wheels, which creates a low air pressure pocket behind the car and reduces the down force on the following car. It also has to be said that without all of this ridiculous paraphernalia and with a more standardised look to the front wing the cars should go some way to looking a lot better as well.

I guess if they improve the racing then the object of the rule changes will have been achieved and that can only be a good thing.

This new front wing must be seen as an interim step that will be in conjunction with the rear wing changes and other aero tweaks also brought into being for the coming season and as a precursor to yet further changes expected to be introduced for the 2021 season.


The gentle winds of change are blowing in the design offices of the FIA, Liberty Media and the F1 teams and the realisation that racing is entertainment and entertainment is overtaking has to be the overriding ethos to be followed.

Those same winds of change were last week whipped into hurricane force by the sudden and completely unexpected announcement that Daniel Riccardo has departed the Red Bull team to join the Renault F1 team. Not just the equivalent of a stone being thrown into the pond and causing ripples, this news was like a giant rock causing waves. News that frankly rocked the paddock and subsequently caused a frenzy of activity as to which driver now goes to which team for next season.

Certainly the financial benefits for Ricciardo of moving teams must be huge but I believe that there is a bit more to this story than has so far been released.

Just halfway through the 2018 F1 season the 2019 season, with all these developments in cars and drivers, is looking more than a little interesting.