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GP Week : Issue 178
31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Finally the season got underway in Melbourne. The Albert Park track is a very tricky one as in reality it is not very demanding from the aero point of view, but instead it requires a perfect balance of the cars, especially to reduce the tyre wear – which is usually very severe, this year even more so due to the new compounds of the Pirelli tyres. The teams didn’t bring many updates, at least not many with respect to those introduced during the latest testing sessions in Barcelona. However, it was interesting to see which was the leading trend in terms of most-developed areas on the cars, noticing of course the main differences between the leading cars. In particular we focused our attention on Ferrari and Red Bull this time. We wanted to see how the reigning world champion team developed the successor to the RB8. Interestingly we found that the rear end of the RB 9 plays a crucial part in its development process. The Coanda-style echaust is continuously being refined, both in terms of design and also functions it has. In fact, the complex management of the airflow in this area invests in not only the feeding of the rear diffuser in a legal way, but now even more than last season, the channeling of the airflow through the exhaust gases management works also as a means of passive activation for DRS – even though the development process of the system is really complex and long. Anyway, even though we can be sure that so far the Double DRS system passively activated was not part of the package used in this race, many elements of the system were already in place, cautiously hidden by mechanics even on the starting grid. The connection between rear wing efficiency, it’s stalling via DRS, and the configuration of the rear bodywork in terms of exhaust layout now is clearly visible without any doubt. On the other hand Ferrari, seemed to have chosen an all-way-round development of the car. What we mean is, that even more than is obvious, the F138 is just a distant relative of the F2012. The rear end, including a rear wing that made its debut last year at Suzuka, was hugely modified since its launch, but what caught our attention this time, was the front wing. This element, coupled to a bulged nose even higher than last year, strikes for its cleanliness. The main profile is now almost completely flat, without any interruption and height change. This configuration is a deep evolution of the elements seen in the latter part of 2012 season. In particular the huge array of tiny slits that divide longitudinally the main profile, coupled with the ones that divide the main flap, show how the airflow management of the front end has been revised on this car, to better feed the underfloor of the car, hence generating downforce. his provides us the idea of a dramatically better balanced car compared to last season, capable of better managing the tyres, especially in terms of putting them in working temperature. The tech situation of the Italian team looks really in good shape and, as our sources told us here, in one week’s time there will be further interesting developments to look at. So, stay connected with us! Refinements as the season kicks off F1 >>> AUSTRALIA TECHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor