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GP Week : Issue 40
> F1NEWS> Development never stops Technical EditorPAOLO FILISETTI noticed some subtle aero changes in Malaysia WITH the cars shipped straight from Melbourne, it was predictable that there would be no major changes – although many cars did run with subtle changes. Testing may be banned, but development seems unaffected. After its dominant showing in Melbourne, Brawn GP is very much the focus of other team engineers. Apart from its controversial diffuser, there are other interesting elements to the car. At the same time, Williams rolled out an interesting front wing change to achieve better balance taking Sepang’s long straights into consideration. BrawnGP Splitter In the past, this area was often hard to observe, being hidden behind an array of barge boards. Now, the airflow management of the car is done in a different way, with great importance on the airflow under the car and how it is directed to best effect through to the diffuser area. The BGP has a very interesting foremost extension to its splitter. It is inclined to create a venturi channel with the normal horizontal section of the splitter. The lower portion of the airflow is diverted outside, while the upper portion is managed through the complex central vertical section of the splitter, which increases the air-speed in this area. This helps create a depression toward the rear of the car, aiding the rear diffuser extraction. Williams FW31 endplates Front wings play an increasingly important role this year – with the absence of all those barge boards and turning vanes to refine the airflow exiting from the front wing. Now it is important to not only generate downforce, but to maximise the balance of the car by reducing every possible airflow disruption and drag. For these reasons, the FW31 front wing endplates feature a knife-edged profile at the wing’s lowermost section, designed to help in terms of turbulence and drag reduction, close to the inner side of each endplate. This helps, particularly at high speed, by detaching the boundary layer of the airflow close to the inner side of the endplate which otherwise would have generated turbulence when approaching the front wheels. 15