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GP Week : Issue 150
With he race in Sakhir just one week after Shanghai, it was expected that technical changes would be minimal. This in effect was exactly what happened, with the cars shipped directly from China, and sporting just refinements of the package used one week before. This was the case with Red Bull, which adopted on both cars the same exhaust layout, with Vettel initially using the solution introduced in Australia in practice, then passing to the most recent one. This choice, seems having hugely benefited the German driver, providing him with a better pace compared to Shanghai performance. Lotus introduced a modified front wing, (above) sporting a new vertical fin, with a twisty design, placed in the middle of each half of the main profile. This solution proved to be particularly efficient in terms of providing a good downforce load, but very little drag on the long start-finish straight. McLaren adopted two different version of its front wing (above right). Button used the version introduced in China, that features a new main flap and the upper deck winglets without gills in their endplates. Hamilton on the other hand opted for an older version of the package, that suited his driving style in a better way. Both the cars suffered from a dramatic and difficult to understand lack of pace, especially in the race. Tyre wear was one of the likely reasons of the poor performance, but the drivers and team admitted they had to understand better the reasons behind that. It is in fact important to note that notwithstanding the high temperatures and very abrasive tarmac, the tyre wear was better than expected both by Pirelli engineers, and the teams. Notably, Mercedes, was positively impressed by their tyre wear rate, that at the start of the season was considered the most evident Achilles heel of the Brackley-based team. Now all the teams head to Mugello for a three days test session, where a huge working schedule is expected by all the top teams, who will introduce and test new solutions to be adopted in the next race at Barcelona in three weeks time. With inly days between flyaway races, there is little time for major innovation, but as Red Bull and Lotus showed, one good little tweak can make a big difference, as Tech Editor Paolo Filisetti explains TECHNICAL Small changes – big gains 30 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> CHINA