by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 81
Technical Update: Spanish GP Back in Europe, it is the time for the first serious updates, reports GPWeek Technical Editor PAOLO FILISETTI The return of F1 in Europe as usual coincides with the Spanish GP. Apart from keeping this tradition unchanged, another tradition obviously remains unchanged -- that this races brings a huge array of technical changes on the cars. The first four flyways races prevent the teams from introducing significant changes on their cars, even if , as we already saw in previous races, the development was still ongoing. Some also had the opportunity to test some draft solutions, that were only refined in their definitive version at this event. We are speaking specifically of the F- duct system, brought to China by Ferrari -- not in its definitive version -- and then improved and used by both drivers here. The most heavily evoluted car on the grid in Spain, was the Mercedes W 01. This car in fact introduced a visually striking new upper bodywork in the area of the engine air intake (right) and, even if the change was visually more subtle than the one just mentioned, it sported a longer wheelbase, obtained by moving forward the front suspension by about 10 cm. This was done in favour of a better weight distribution, so as to improve not just overall performance of the car, but also in terms of a better use of the tyres. Among the other interesting evolutions, McLaren introduced a deeply revised front wing (above), and other ancillaries related to the car's bottom. Red Bull also introduced a deeply revised version of its undertray, especially in the area in front of the rear wheels, sporting an horizontal slit, increased in its section , to better feed the rear diffuser section of the car. The details of each change: The Mercedes changes are visually striking due to the new engine air intake, pushed rearwards compared to the precious version and lowered. The engine air intake is now constituted by two separate sections, divided by the roll structure, that sports the shape of a vertical fin, whose function is to virtually divide the airflow and, at the same time, provide a better, cleaner airflow to the rear wing. This helps in terms of providing a better airflow to the sort of 'minimal' F-duct system placed within the rear wing main profile, that we explained in China. The system in this way receives less turbulence, previously generated by the more generous dimension of the older version of the engine cover. As mentioned before, the other change, featured on the Mercedes cars was related to the increase of the wheelbase, by means of pushing forward the front axle. This change is only slightly visible, thanks to the different angle of the steering link, visible from above. Previously it was inclined slightly rearwards -- now its is perfectly perpendicular, to the car's longitudinal centreline. McLaren on the other hand sported a deeply revised and interesting front wing. In particular the main change is related to the wing's endplates, that now are not in just a single element, or rather, its rearmost section doesn't feature a flat upper edge any longer. Instead it features a diagonal cut that helps in terms of reducing the airflow blocking in the area in front of the wheels, so as to reduce the vortices and hence the turbulence generated in this area. This of course is massively effective on tracks featuring very long straight line, as is the case in Barcelona. The new front wing still produces a high level of downforce. Red Bull on the other hand mainly introduced changes not so easily seen. The horizontal section of the undertray in front of the rear wheels features a deeper and wider slit, whose function is to better feed the rear diffuser, trying to maximise the downforce generate by the bottom of the car, in favour of reducing at the same time the wing angles, in order to gain in top speed on the straight. We could describe this as a sort of counter attack by Red Bull to the fashionable F-duct! F1 NEWS >> 12