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GP Week : Issue 225
TECHNICAL monKeY seaTs THe TWeaK of THe WeeK TeCHNICAL paoLo fiLiseTTi Technical Editor The tenth race of the season, just before the summer break, was interesting for the development changes carried out by the teams. First of all, it is important to point out that Budapest is a kind of track that equals, in terms of aero level, Monaco. This is evident in the kind of aero development all the teams bring to the race in order to adapt their cars to this demanding track. It was interesting to note that some teams found it pretty useful to concentrate on the ‘monkey seat’ area, to gain some additional downforce load, especially on the rear end of the car, to increase traction. One of these teams was Mercedes that, astonishingly, didn’t bring the same version of monkey seat as the one adopted in Monaco (see insert below), that featured a double sinuous profile and increased endplates. Instead the version introduced here featured just a single profile, and in reality was a sort of monolithic element bent towards its extremities to create the pillars connected to the crushable structure. This device, in its design (left below), was much simpler than the previous version and even if its main purpose was to generate increased downforce, this result was gained not just by means of the angle of the profile itself. Instead, this element worked together with the main profile of the wing, increasing the speed of the airflow passing underneath it, hence generating a negative pressure that improved the efficiency of the rear wing, without disrupting the aero balance, in terms of additional drag generated. In other words the amount of additional drag generated by the new monkey seat is minimal compared to the gain in terms of downforce. The new element, as mentioned, has a simple shape, but it is the result of a lengthy study before its adoption. This kind of development is certainly possible for a team that is currently demonstrating a clear dominance over the direct competitors. It is not so useful or possible for a team chasing the leaders – as for them it makes more sense to focus the development in other areas. Changing the subject of our technical analysis completely, we think it's important to mention the failure which occurred to Kimi Raikkonen’s front wing – even more so after the race when a similar failure occurred to Nico Hulkenberg’s front wing. In both cases, the failure was caused by vibrations mainly generated by passing over the sharp kerbs of the track. These induced vibrations, after the recent tightening of the wing flexibility rules, found no means of being dissipated by the various element of the wing assembly – both the main flap and the additional upper winglets. Their increased stiffness prevents the vibrations from being reduced by the relative flexibility of these items and, as a consequence, the energy carried by the vibrations concentrates only on the nodal points of the structure, the pillar connections. Furthermore, it is important to note that the section of the links connecting to the pillars is so small (see below), that they can hardly withstand the amount of energy applied to them. A swift action by the FIA, to introduce a minimal cross section of these element would prevent other similar failures occurring in the future. 37 GPWEEK.com // 37 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> HUNGARY PARTNERS: