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GP Week : Issue 181
30 GPWEEK.com // 30 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: The teams brought the cars directly from Shanghai to Sakhir, and so it was obvious to expect no major updates. In fact this wasn’t quite the case, as some exception occurred even though we can’t consider those major developments. Red Bull tested on Friday on Vettel’s car a solution of vented wheel hubs for the extraction of heat generated under braking outside the wheel. This element will be tested further in the forthcoming race in Spain in three weeks time. We will analyze the system and the potential gains, once it will be carried on the car in a definitive way. The second team that brought something new was Lotus, which sported an interesting evolution of their barge boards, featuring a saw-tooth upper edge, connected with the vertical turning vanes in their lowest section, featuring an horizontal small winglet coupled with another horizontal fin at the level of the bottom of the car. This complex assembly of winglets and fins has the function of better managing the airflow in the crucial area of the stepped plane in front of the Coke bottle section of the car. This is because this section plays a more important role than in the past in terms of aero efficiency, due to the blowing of the exhaust pipes pretty close to the surface of that area. How aerodynamics can be beneficial or detrimental to one’s potential, was well represented, unfortunately for Ferrari, by the failure in the race, on Fernando Alonso’s car, regarding its DRS activating mechanism. The Spaniard in fact pitted his Ferrari a first time with its rear wing flap open and the team, during the tyre change, solved the problem a first time. During the out lap Alonso tried his DRS again in the back straight and the flap again remained open, hence forcing him to pit again. The problem was solved by lowering the flap manually and warning Alonso not to activate the system for the rest of the race. The explanation for the failure has not been confirmed at the time of writing, but sources from the team suggest that it was likely a mechanical linkage failure, not a hydraulic one. By mechanical they mean an assembly problem between the link connecting the flap and the spring in the ‘hub’ placed on top of the main wing profile – a two-cent part bringing down a million dollar technical concentrate that is an F1 car ... Bits and pieces and two-cent failures TECHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor F1 >>> BAHRAIN