If you watch free practice sessions on Fridays at Grands Prix, you could be forgiven for thinking that there are a lot of onboard cameras on the cars. And you’d be half right.
But they are not all TV cameras, placed there by Formula One Management. The teams are allowed special dispensation to place their own cameras on the cars during practice to show how their latest updates are working.
Most of the teams do it, but Red Bull have an infrared or thermographic camera, mounted on the right side of the engine cover, which can film the exhaust gas flow as it exits the exhausts and passes down into the diffuser, measuring and observing the Coanda effect.
It’s not obvious, it looks like a slightly more bulbous version of the standard FOM camera mounting, but it’s providing vital information on the way the highly sophisticated exhaust blows.
FOM rules prohibit the use of video cameras in the circuit from non-TV rights holders, but there is a dispensation for teams on Friday mornings so they can gather data.
Some teams use a simple GoPro, camera, like Mercedes did today, with a GoPro mounted on the left side of the rear wing endplate during FP1, pointing at the rear bodywork of the car.
It all goes to show the lengths that teams will go to to fine tune details of their innovations.