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GP Week : Issue 180
24 GPWEEK.com // 24 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: With three weeks between the previous race and this one in China, the teams had plenty of time to develop new packages, to introduce on their cars here in Shanghai. Some of the changes seen on the cars were ‘corrections’ of some problems encountered in the first two races, but most were new components, part of a planned development. That was the case for most of the top teams, other than McLaren, which modified its rear diffuser in order to find a more acceptable balance of the car and especially downforce, so to reduce the wing angles that dragged too much in terms of speed from the cars made in Woking in the first two outings. The team that introduced a really relevant number of changes was Ferrari. The F138 this year is on another planet compared to the F2012. The changes usually tested on Friday now mostly remain on the car for the rest of the weekend, instead of being stripped off as happened last year. The main reason for that is that now the correlation between the data from wind tunnel and track is more precise, and so the feedback from the drivers is positive for most of the new bits and pieces introduced so far. This time, a revised front wing, featuring two horizontal slits, instead of the single one present at the previous race, in the outermost section of the endplates, and an extended vertical fin dividing the upper flaps, was part of a complete aero package introduced here. The wing in fact was coupled with a new version of turning vanes placed under the front bottom of the chassis, featuring a three-element assembly compared to the two of the precious version. As well, the brake cooling drums were modified in order to improve the cooling of the discs. They featured a double cut throughout their circumference, as wide as the disc thickness. In this way the radial cooling holes in the disc could better dissipate the heat in the twister section of the track. Refinements to the rear wing and bottom were also part of this huge package. Another team that has noticeably improved its pace is Mercedes. The car seems pretty competitive for single-lap speed, even if it still lacks in terms of pace during the race. Since its debut in Australia, the W04 has struck a chord with its interesting hidden secret, the FRIC, the front and rear interconnected suspension system that allows the car to always have the perfect balance between front and rear axle. We will analyze more deeply the system at a later stage, as it requires further in depth analysis and knowledge of the system and how it effectively works. Apart from this device, he W04 sported a revised front wing with a revised additional flap featuring an S-shaped fin, at its inner edge, to manage more efficiently the airflow passing in this section of the wing and increase the airflow speed in the lower edge of the wing, to increase downforce without adding drag to this wing configuration. Ferrari makes good progress TECHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor F1 >>> CHINA