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GP Week : Issue 149
China is the first of the second couple of back to back races, pairing with Bahrain, due to be run next Sunday. It comes three weeks after the Malaysian race. An interesting amount of changes on the cars was expected and we were not disappointed in this respect. There weren’t any huge packages of modifications, instead teams focused on some detail refining and also used this race, and likely the next one, as a test bench of some solution that will be introduced as part of bigger developments at the Spanish Grand Prix. This was the case for Ferrari, which brought just few bits of aero development, as a series of small winglets placed on the side of the cockpit and at the level of the bargeboards, sporting some fins connected to them. Red Bull, was very proactive in trying to find a solution capable of making the car more stable, especially at the level of corner entrance, and in this respect brought a double version of its exhaust layout. The newest one, previously seen in Australia and Malaysia in a less definitive shape, was used by Webber, while a standard, launch version was adopted by Sebastian Vettel. The two layouts differ hugely visually speaking. The most recent one features very low sidepods towards the rear, almost descending to the level of the stepped bottom. Furthermore the exhausts blow towards the side of the car. The pressure of the hot air gases increases the speed of the portion of the airflow channeled through a slit placed jut over the bottom that feeds the rear diffuser. The older version instead sports the exhaust blowing towards the rear of the car, almost parallel to the car’s centerline, just underneath the upper wishbone of the suspension. This configuration was preferred by Vettel because he felt the rear end of the car was less subject to aerodynamic load variations, hence more stable. In reality the solution adopted by Webber appeared to be more efficient in terms of downforce provided and in qualifying the difference was quite visible. However, in race configuration there was not a noticeable gain, and the two cars showed almost an identical race pace. This fact of course determines the need to clarify the question mark over the efficiency of the new layout in the forthcoming race in Bahrain on Sunday. While teams often go down different paths during practice, Red Bull's two drivers chose substantially different exhaust set-ups for China, as Tech Editor Paolo Filisetti explains TECHNICAL Red Bull not quite 'exhausted' Older version (Vettel) New version (Webber) 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> CHINA