The paddock was given a rare glimpse at the seldom-seen ground-effect floor designs of two of F1’s top teams last weekend in Monaco with both Red Bull’s RB19 and Mercedes’ W14 cars being shown off. 

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Crashes for Lewis Hamilton in final practice and Sergio Perez in qualifying resulted in both their cars being craned high into the Monaco skyline, enabling photographers to capture images of the undersides. 

Although rival teams have analysed the photos to unearth potential secrets from the most aerodynamically sensitive area of the current generation of F1 cars, the ability to copy such an intricate innovation has been ruled out.

“I think we all have a lot of pictures of the other cars,” Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur said on Friday at the Spanish Grand Prix. 

"But then it’s quite difficult, or even impossible, to try to copy something, because it’s more a global concept than something else. 

“You can’t copy just one part of the car.” 

Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin admitted the images will have little use other than providing the chasing pack with “a little bit of inspiration”. 

“All teams will be looking at the photos and I suspect they will be looking a bit more at the Red Bull ones than the Mercedes or the Ferrari ones,” Shovlin told Sky. 

“You can certainly get ideas about what they are trying to do with flow structures and where they might be going with the development direction. If you look at last year, you look at this year, you can understand a little bit about what they are doing there. 

“But the reality is, while those pictures give you a bit of an idea, it’s not as simple as ‘let’s copy that, put it on our car and we’ll be as quick as they are’. It’s definitely not a case of that. 

"The reality is you’ve got to spend a vast amount of your effort understanding your own car and developing from there. So I think a little bit of inspiration, but not much more than that.”

After admiring the sophistication of Red Bull’s floor layout, McLaren team boss Andrea Stella said he could understand why the RB19 is the class of the 2023 field. 

“Personally, I spent some time [analysing the pictures], but the 100 aerodynamicists at McLaren will be spending a little bit more time,” Stella said. 

“It’s very interesting indeed and also shows the complexity and the quality of the developments. 

“To be honest, when I saw it I said ‘hats off to Red Bull’. I can understand why they have this kind of performance.”