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GP Week : Issue 43
> F1NEWS> ical Update: Round 4 GPWeek’s technical editor PAOLO FILLISETTI looks at the latest tweaks, from Bahrain FOLLOWING just a few days after China, there would under normal circumstances be little to report from Bahrain – but these are quite different times. With the major change in regulations, and the final acceptance of the double diffuser, every few days is seeing somebody producing something in ‘catch-up’ mode. While many teams plan to introduce their diffuser solution in Spain, it was the turn of Force India to introduce its version in Bahrain (below left), while Renault – having rushed one to China – had a similar diffuser for Piquet. Renault’s new diffuser, bottom left, differs quite substantially from the previous version, with the central channel lower and rounded facing upwards. This central channel is the lower one, placed under two higher ones placed at the side of the rear crushable structure. These upper channels are fed by the airflow passing underneath Given Red Bull’s pace, and China win, it is predictable that other teams are taking a great interest in the RB5’s details. While this team faces the biggest task to introduce a double-diffuser system, it continues to refine even the smallest details in the interim. In Bahrain, an interesting new front wheel cover, left, was introduced. In this case, the covers are not simply flat , or slightly bulged to divert turbulence out of the car, but complexly shaped to manage the hot air exiting the brakes and divert the tiniest turbulence created by it through use of an additional semi-circular vertical lip, placed on the rearmost edge of the wheel cover. The turbulence reduction achieved contributed to the efficiency of the bottom of the car. This theme is continued with a knife-edged profile midway along the car at the base of the bodywork, top left. Here, an upwardly-curved lip helps to detach the airflow from this section of the bodywork and reduce turbulence. In turn, this feeds the side channel of the diffuser which, in front of the rear wheels, contains a further very interesting development … In Malayasia, an oval hole was placed in the horizontal section in front of the rear wheels to reduce the turbulence that would have affected the efficiency of the diffuser’s side channels. Now, as in China, the hole has been closed by means of a plate featuring a vertical ‘gurney’tab that splits the airflow into two parts – the most central helps in terms of hot air extraction from the sidepods, while the outermost one has the same function as the flow coming out of the hole featured in Malaysia. 13