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GP Week : Issue 42
Technical Update: Round T HE difficulties facing Ferrari are pretty clear, and the team management doesn’t hide this fact. Everybody in the team knows that so far the pace of the car isn’t good enough, and even reliability-wise, there is still a lot of work to do. Ferrari have not been very reactive in terms of development, while others, notably McLaren, showed a different attitude on the matter. This was deeply visible in Shanghai, where the Italian team bought an array of minor changes, mainly on the aero side, while on the other hand McLaren were proactive, introducing a completely new front wing, and an interim version of the double decker diffuser. The short time of just one week didn’t allow huge development, but it was interesting to note that many teams flew to China with additional hand luggage. That was the case for McLaren, but also Renault, who were able to fit Fernando Alonso’s car with a new diffuser, even though it is not the definitive one that will be introduced in a couple of race’s time. As mentioned, Ferrari introduced an array of small changes, the most significant being modified front wheel fairings, and revised front wing endplates. The first change features a sort of lip extending forward, partially covering the sidewall of the tyre, and then connecting with the central section of the fairing, sporting a big round slit with a thorus shape. The function of this element is to provide both a better diversion of the turbulence generated by the air coming from the front wing and impacting the front rotating tyres, but even more importantly it helps in terms of dissipating and diverting the hot air flow generated under braking. This of course helps in general terms of brake cooling, but also aerodynamically speaking in terms of improving the quality of the airflow passing underneath the car, close to the front section of the sidepods. The second relevant change spotted on the F60 was related to a tiny winglet curving downwards, connected to the endplates. This element played a role in diverting the airflow close to the outer side of the 28 endplates so as to split it into two parts, with the upper one passing over the front wheels hence reducing the turbulence generated by their rotation. At the same time the lower section of the airflow is diverted outwards, and partially helps in terms of increasing the speed of the air passing under the main profile of the front wing. M eanwhile, the McLaren was dramatically modified both at front and rear. The MP4/14 sported a deeply revised front wing; in reality it can considered as a completely new version, featuring the main profile divided into two longitudinal elements, plus an added double upper profile that dramatically resembles the one featured on the Red Bulls. The additions have the function of increasing in a very noticeable way the downforce load produced at the front, without radically increasing the drag. The design of the main profile is divided in two longitudinal sections, helping in terms of increasing the speed of the airflow passing underneath and generating more downforce. The role of the additional upper elements is almost similar; by increasing the speed of the portion of the air passing under it, the flow that then feeds the double flaps increases the downforce load produced. The second big update on the MP4/24 relates to the diffuser. The diffuser introduced on the car can’t be considered the final version due to be adopted in few races time, but it already sports the principles of the double decker diffuser. In the central section right under the crushable structure, there is now an additional small profile that creates a slit together with the lower profile of the man diffuser. Through this slit exit the airflow comes from underneath, fed by two side holes in the central section of the main profile in a very similar fashion to the Brawn cars. The airflow passing through the slit is accelerated, hence improving the extraction of the air passing under the central section of the main diffuser, increasing the downforce generated. The McLaren featured Ferrari had new wheel covers, above, and new a new winglet, right.