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GP Week : Issue 182
32 GPWEEK.com // 32 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Barcelona is as usual the first race of the European leg of the championship, and its layout usually make this track fundamental in terms of correlation between the data collected on it and the simulations carried by each team during the winter. The proper season in terms of development of the cars starts here. Most of the teams , in fact with three weeks interval between the previous race and this one , brought many new packages, to have a proper benchmark on this demanding track. McLaren introduced a deeply modified front wing, trying t o recover the lack of competitiveness of the current car. Red Bull, instead, refined some solutions already seen in the last couple of events, in particular keeping their focus on the rear end of the car, trying particularly to improve the cooling of their KERS system that so far caused some headache to the Milton Keynes engineers on a few occasions (above right) . The team in this way tried more to improve the reliability side of the car than performance. Conversely, Ferrari, as expected, brought a wide array of changes on the F138. The most relevant element of this development, notably represented by a new floor, didn’t work as expected so many elements of the new package were stripped off the car after Friday for the remainder of the weekend. For this reason we decided to not include them in this analysis, as they were not present on the car on Sunday and hence didn’t contribute to its victory. They included new brake cooling drums in particular at the rear and an evolution at the front of those introduced in Malaysia; revised barge boards under the front ends of the chassis; front and rear wings revision; and a new engine cover to be coupled with revised exhausts. Only the revised brake drums remained on the car for the weekend. The other element very likely will be tested again in Canada. Lotus on the other hand continued the development of the FRIC system, but introduced a new aero package for this race. This included new front and rear wing. The front one (above left) caught our attention as it looks like a clever development of the previous version seen in the last couple of races. The new version sports on top of its main profile a different vertical winglet now divided in its middle section by a narrow slit, to improve its function of a small barge board, diverting the air flow to feed the bottom of the car and the sidepods more properly. Also present was a completely new endplate, with a rounded downwards winglet on its side, capable of channeling the airflow between the wing and the inner shield of the front brake drums, generating more downforce in that area, and reducing turbulence around the front wheels. Monaco in two weeks time will be a completely different stage, where most of the aero set-ups will represent a quantum shift, with some of its solutions adopted in the Principality potentially valid in Budapest and Singapore. The first batch of updates have their effect TECHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor F1 >>> BARCELONA