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GP Week : Issue 220
TeCHNICAL pAoLo FiLisetti Technical Editor TECHNICAL The spanish GP, as usual, was very interesting from the technical point of view. As it's well known, Barcelona is the track where the first large developments on the cars are introduced, mainly from the aero perspective. This year was no exception, with almost all the cars on the grid introducing interesting updates for the first european race. Of course, everybody’s attention was mainly focused on two long- awaited and expected updates – the huge development package introduced by Ferrari, that almost overhauled the original aero layout of the SF 15-T, and the introduction of Red Bull's new shorter nose for the RB11. The first of these was a deep evolution of many elements of the aero package of the Italian car. In particular the development included a heavily revised sidepod top profile, now no longer flat, instead featuring a visible height variation on its top. Furthermore the bridge turning vanes now feature a shorter element, curved downwards in the middle of the foremost edge of the sidepod, and besides, a sinuous profile directly connected to the cockpit side, which helps in terms of vortex generation so as to manage the thickness of the boundary layer in this area. In front of the sidepods, the bargeboards have also been revised, now featuring a two-element assembly, divided by a deep vertical slit to help the airflow remaining attached to the bargeboard profile. Moving rear wards, it was interesting to see how also the portion of the floor in front of the rear wheels has been revised, now featuring three parallel slits, instead of a single L-shaped one as before. The rear wing has been revised also, now reverting to a double vertical slit that was originally abandoned since the start of the season. In a few words, it is clear that what was introduced here by Ferrari was an extensive development of the aero package of the car, in our opinion probably too much to introduce at one time. By that we mean that part of the poor showing of the SF 15-T compared to the Mercedes might be originated by some elements of the package having not been perfectly integrated. From Tuesday it will be possible in the post- race test to get a clearer picture of what went wrong in this development on the Italian cars, and very likely the situation should be improved not just for Monaco, where aero efficiency is marginal, but for Montreal where it is a valuable asset. The other team that was expected to introduce its new shorter nose was Red Bull. Here finally the RB11 sported the short version of the nose whose introduction was postponed since the start of the season due to multiple crash test failures of this item. The new nose provides a higher quantity of air flow underneath the car to the rear, enhancing the downforce level provided. It seems that the overall balance of the car has slightly benefited from this addition, even though it didn’t act too much as a performance differentiator compared to the previous version. The Power Unit problems have hampered the development rate hugely, hence this element isolated from all the others, can have just a marginal effect. It is important to mention Mercedes, which in reality introduced a development in terms of micro aero additions. It was not a huge overhaul for the Brackley-based team that, as we already analysed two races ago, introduced its first proper evolution package in China, sporting a new version of the front wing. The two W06 Hybrid nevertheless, showed a blistering pace in Barcelona, in fact increasing the performance gap to Ferrari. Aero UpdAtes prodUCe no reLAtive gAin 29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SPAIN PARTNERS: