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GP Week : Issue 88
Technical Update: European GP Valencia was the race where a number of teams debuted their Red Bull 'blown' diffuser copies, as GPWEEK Technical Editor Paulo Filisetti explains The race on the Valencia street circuit, was particularly interesting from the technical point of view, propbably the 'richest' to date in 2010, as many teams introduced broad changes in their aero packages. Two main changes are on top of the technical list of the teams -- one is the low exhaust layout introduced this season by Red Bull, and now adopted also by Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes. This configuration was soon considered necessary by all the engineers of the rival teams, but of course they needed time to introduced it on their cars. Ferrari had planned the Valencia debut of its solution for a few months, and the adoption of the new exhaust system was finally cleared with a test at the Fiorano track, during a filming session, so as to respect the testing ban during the race season. The solution increases dramatically the efficiency of the rear diffuser. Now the diffuser is directly 'blown' by the exhaust gases, accelerating the airflow passing through it and improving the extraction from underneath the car, increasing also the overall quantity of air feeding the diffuser. Ferrari slightly modified the sidepod bodywork in order to better accomodate a slightly revised radiator layout and cope with the increased heat within the sidepods due to their narrower section. Furthermore a new gearbox, only on Felipe Massa's car, was adopted to raise pick-up points of the lower wishbone, in order to keep it clear of the hot exhaust gas flow. It was interesting to see the series of red stripes degrading towards the rear side section of the diffuser. These stripes are of a special paint, that changes its colour in relation to the different temperature of the surface where it is applied. It is thus possibile for the Ferrari engineers to see if the section of the diffuser reaches too high temperatures due to the hot gases blowing on them. Renault is another team that introduced a low exhaust configuration. In this case the exhaust is not visibile, as there is a sinuous cover thermally insulated on its top side. Mercedes also introduced its version of the low exhaust configuration, in order to have a blown diffuser. This one has been deeply modified to enhance the positive effect of the gases blowing through it. Not exactly a new entry in terms of aero change, the front wing of the Lotus was used throughout this weekend due to the need of adopting a medium downforce configuration for this circuit. This element is exactly a design concept heritage from Mike Gascoyne's past employment in Toyota. Two years ago, the cars from Cologne sported a very similar solution, specifically designed for medium-downforce tracks, including Valencia. F1 NEWS >> 12