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GP Week : Issue 232
TECHNICAL the BLiNd date PheNoMeNoN TechNIcAl PaoLo FiLiSetti Technical Editor every brand new track is a sort of blind date for the teams in terms of precision of their set up details. Mexico, of course was not completely unknown and, even though the layout has just changed since the last F1 race in 1992 in the sector of Peraltada corner, everything was different now in terms of tarmac, but also the current cars are significantly different from those running 23 years ago, and a lot of technical implications were related to the high altitude of Mexico City placed at 2250m above sea level. The air density at this kind of altitude is reduced roughly by a figure of 30 percent. As in our previous report where we explained about the negative implications to the Power Units, notably in terms of small power loss and energy recovery, another crucial factor affected by the reduced air density, is cooling. This fact was not just related to the cooling needs of the ICE and ancillaries, but also to the Hybrid elements and in particular the MGU H, whose rotational speed was increased to prevent the loss in terms of energy recovery aforementioned. It was so visible how all the teams tried to increase the cooling capabilities of their cars, by introducing additional vents or by enlarging the original ones. That was the case for Ferrari, which sported a revised engine cover with a wider rear air vent around the engine exhaust pipe. Increased cooling was also needed by the brakes, whose working temperature was constantly 300°C higher than that reached in normal conditions – 800°C against 500°C. Furthermore, as most of the teams adopted a monkey seat to increase downforce, Ferrari (right) also used that element to increase the rear end downforce load. It is important to note that the overall downforce generated by the aero configuration used in Mexico on the cars, which was the same used in Monaco, Budapest and Singapore, produced a downforce load reduced by an 25 percent average. As a consequence, this (along with the freshly laid surface) produced reduced grip on all cars, that was pretty evident due to the continuous oversteer sliding on the exit of the corners due to poor traction, and a visible understeer too at the entrance of the corners. Interesting was the development brought by Mercedes on the W06 in addition to the ‘ears’ we already talked about in our report from Austin. I am talking about the small vertical fins added to the floor in front of the rear wheels (pictured right top). These elements were introduced to direct the airflow between the brake ducts and the side sections of the diffuser. The aim of these elements is to help the airflow splitting into two sections – one directed to the brake ducts so as to increase the cooling without needing to increase the ducts sections, (that will produce additional drag). The other flow portion is directed towards the vertical side of the diffuser to improve the air extraction from that area underneath the car. 34 GPWEEK.com // 34 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> MEXICO PARTNERS: