Formula 1 teams have always reveled in the aerodynamic challenges posed by the Monza circuit, as its high-speed nature justifies the use of a bespoke wing package.
However, in the current context of the cost cap and the arrival of a set of rules that created a very different type of car, there was a feeling that teams might have to redesign their plans for 2022.
In the end, there were two philosophies to the approach to the Italian Grand Prix, and it was interesting that the winning car had perhaps the most conservative design.
Red Bull Racing, like many others, bucked the usual trend of introducing a new Monza package. They opted to use the lower downforce wing that they already used in Baku and Spa.
Red Bull Racing RB18 spoiler comparison
As he also did in those races, in Italy he opted to reduce his downforce levels by running with just one element of the so-called beam wing , a small wing attached to the rear wing endplates (marked in red in the photo above). .
However, Red Bull at least tried another option to reduce drag, and commissioned Sergio Pérez to test that same wing, albeit with the upper flap trailing edge trimmed back (main image, highlighted in yellow).
But they quickly scrapped the fix, because the DRS wobble issues that dogged the team through the end of 2021 came back.
When it came to qualifying, the extra downforce Red Bull was carrying could have been considered a negative for Monza. That turned out to be no problem for the energy drinkers, though, as the RB18 has not only proven fast down the straight all season, even when carrying more wing than its rivals, but has also been able to recover time in traction zones.
The team had also decided to set up Max Verstappen’s car with the race in mind, rather than focus on qualifying, knowing he would face a five-position penalty for power unit changes.
Running with more wing not only helped him protect the tires and prolong his first stint, it also gave him a larger DRS delta when he needed to overtake his competitors, as well as being beneficial for qualifying.
Ferrari F1-75 rear wing detail
Paraffin in the diffuser of the Ferrari F1-75
The special yellow livery was not the only trick Ferrari had up its sleeve for its home race, where the Scuderia used a low-downforce rear wing that we had already seen tested at Spa.
What was not tested, despite being available at the time, was the single beam wing element that the Cavallino installed to help reduce downforce and drag in the face of the challenges posed by Monza.
The wing itself is a simple development of the design used by Ferrari throughout 2022, with the spoon-shaped mainplane getting flatter and flatter with each iteration.
The wing elements also take up less and less of the allowed area, as designers sought to reduce downforce and drag.
Ferrari F1-75 front wing detail
They also found it necessary to make changes to the front wing of the F1-75 (above) to accommodate the modifications made to the rear. At the front, the upper wing was cut back to help balance the car front to rear.
Mercedes W13 rear wing, Italian GP
Mercedes has struggled with straight line speed this season but did not feel the need to introduce a bespoke rear wing design to help reduce drag. For their part, they preferred to tweak the W13’s lower wing downforce settings to help reduce the deficit.
That included using the full tip wing design again, which is interchangeable with the more traditional cutout due to the wing’s construction (inset).
From a historical perspective, that design is an unusual concept but, given the rule changes that have been made and the impact that rolled endplates have on the efficiency of the wing design, it allowed for numerous new solutions to emerge.
That design has also been used by Alpine this season and will alter the vortex that comes off the wingtip. The trailing edge of the upper flap was also significantly reduced, and a Gurney flap was added which was used on Friday before the team looked for further drag reduction.
To further reduce that drag, the wing assembly was configured with a new single-element beam wing (below).
Beam wing del Mercedes W13
Alfa Romeo continued to use the low-downforce rear wing that it introduced at the Belgian GP and which has the unique cross-cut wingtip. However, in an effort to reduce downforce, the trailing edge of the upper wing was clipped back (highlighted in yellow).
Alfa Romeo C42 rear wing detail
However, to achieve that and maintain the position of the DRS mechanism in the wing, the center section of the wing had to remain intact.
AlphaTauri did not run a bespoke rear wing for Monza, instead opting to make changes to the low-downforce solution it introduced at the Belgian Grand Prix.
AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing detail
Rear detail of the AlphaTauri AT03 in Italy
That came with two changes: the trailing edge of the upper wing was trimmed back (top) and they only used a single-element beam wing (bottom).
Rear detail of the AlphaTauri AT03
Aston Martin had already given us a glimpse of the rear wing it was going to use at Monza just a few weeks ago at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Aston Martin AMR22 rear wing detail
The design is by far the most extreme of those presented, with a complex shape reminiscent of some of the wings used at Monza under previous rules. Reducing the angle of incidence of the wing is also paramount in the designer’s attempts to reduce downforce and drag.
However, unlike some of its rivals, the team did not choose to reduce the number of elements in its beam wing configuration, retaining the two-element configuration.