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GP Week : Issue 228
TECHNICAL meRCs stRuggle with miNimum PRessuRe TechNIcAL PAolo Filisetti Technical Editor The singapore GP, due to the particular characteristics of the track, is usually a very interesting one, from the technical development point of view. In particular, of course, a high downforce level, comparable to Monaco, is required. Most of the teams therefore run an aero configuration that starts as the baseline from the Monaco setup. This was without doubt the case for Ferrari and Mercedes. The Italian team brought back the sidepod bodywork introduced in Spain, capable of increasing downforce generated by the bodywork by 6 to 7 percent, even though this configuration slightly generates more drag, a downside that is almost irrelevant in Singapore due to the lack of proper straights on the circuit. Beside this return, the SF15-T sported an array of eight slits in the outermost and rearmost section of the floor, just in front of the rear wheels. These slits provide a low pressure area underneath so as to improve the air extraction from the rear diffuser side sections. In addition, two small winglets, having the same function in terms of generating a low pressure just behind the upper edge of the diffuser, were placed at each side of the rear crushable structure. These features were of course aimed at generating that additional downforce - useful on such a twisty track - to guarantee appropriate traction, especially at the exit of the corners, and grip through the apexes. Mercedes on the other hand opted to implement almost the same aero setup adopted in Monaco. Elements that were easily recognisable were the same wing, introduced for the first time in Malaysia then developed for the Principality, and the double profile ‘monkey seat’ that made its debut in Monaco. Furthermore, the W06 sported a particularly extreme rake setup, adopting a very stiff suspension setup at front and rear. Notwithstanding these setups, useful to generate a significant amount of downforce, the car struggled to get decent performance out of both compounds of the tyres provided by Pirelli. This generated huge rumors about whether the enforcement by the FIA of the mandatory minimum tyre inflation pressures enforced by the tyre manufacturer, could have affected the whole performance of the Mercedes cars. As it happens, we personally agree with this theory after having investigated via some of our sources and received confirmation from some technical figures from other teams, that this might be the case. Apart of this controversial development that intrigued the paddock from Saturday night, a team that introduced an interesting development on their car, was Sauber. The team introduced a shorter version of the nose cone of the C34. The aim of this change is well known; to increase airflow passing underneath the nose of to better feed the bottom of the car – and hence to improve the efficiency of the rear diffuser and generate more downforce. 35 GPWEEK.com // 35 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SINGAPORE PARTNERS: