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GP Week : Issue 126
Technical Update: German GP Track temperature and blown diffusers were the issue at the Nurburgring, as GPWEEK Technical Editor Paolo Filisetti explains The Nurburgring track is completely different from the Silverstone one, both due to its layout, with few slow corners and not particularly long straight lines, but also for the average temperature, that was particularly low throughout the weekend, representing a further challenge in terms of tyre temperature for all the teams. It was also the race where the recent step back of the FIA concerning the blown diffuser off-throttle firing, was expected to mix again the cards of the top teams competiveness. No major changes were brought here apart from various refinements, although most of the chief aerodynamicists of each team gathered , to watch the effect of the aero changes they introduced at the previous race, but also to closely look at the rivals’ cars. McLaren tested an interesting solution in terms of venting placed on the front brake drums, compared to the standard solution. Mercedes introduced a new front wing that partially recalls the Williams one, in relation to the additional front winglets array and the Renaut one. The most active in terms of changes brought here, as well as testing new elements, not to be used for the race here – instead to collect data useful to develop the solution for a future installation on the car, was Lotus Renault GP. The team introduced a deeply revised front wing (lower right) sporting an interesting array of flaps, including one small curved inwards, placed just in front of the main one, beside the main profile slit. This new configuration was particularly studied for this race and the next one, where high downforce levels are required. But the most striking development seen on the car, even though just for an evaluation test, was the new backward configuration of the exhaust system (top right). As is well known, Renault conceived its current car around a forward exhaust system. The development carried out subsequently by many teams on the blown diffuser proved a backward exhaust system to be more effective in terms of increasing the efficiency of the blown diffuser. So here the team tested ‘backward’ exhausts to see the potential, in terms of aero efficiency, but also to evaluate all the installation problems that such new configuration of the exhausts may carry inherently. A deep development of the R31 is expected after the summer break, with visible changes to the car’s bodywork in the sidepod and rear end area. 12