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GP Week : Issue 185
43 GPWEEK.com // 43 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> GREAT BRITAIN silverstone, as written on the sign at the main entrance is the home of British motor racing, but we can say that to a certain extent it symbolizes the British and, let’s say, european traditional tracks where Formula 1 based its roots. It is a demanding track for drivers and cars, where set-up is fundamental to be fast in both the slow and fast sections of the circuit. Long straights and high- speed corners are the characterizing elements of this venue. Tyres, notwithstanding the average low temperature, are put under stress both by a certain roughness of the tarmac surface but especially in terms of G-loads applied when the cars travel at high speed in certain corners of the circuit. We started this technical analysis talking about tyres because this race showed how current ones are inadequate to guarantee proper racing and especially safe conditions for drivers. What happened on Sunday was never seen before – even the ill-fated 2005 Indianapolis race where all the Michelin-supplied teams didn’t race, was something that didn’t put such a big question mark on the tyres supplied. We can say that fears about tyre wear on this track were present in the lead-up, especially on those cars that in previous races proved to be very demanding on tyres, and their relevant teams decided to keep a close eye on their peak working temperature. This, in fact was the case for Mercedes, who adopted temperature sensors placed on the front wing upper winglets throughout the weekend so to monitor the front tyres temperature. Similar sensors were obviously placed as well at the rear, on the undertray in front of the rear wheels. The concern shown by Mercedes turned out to be justified, although the monitoring of tyres temperatures didn’t save Lewis Hamilton from suffering a left-rear tyre failure on his car. FIA president Jean Todt has requested a meeting with Pirelli before next week’s German GP by trying to asses in the shortest time the situation. Coming back to the tech development seen at Silverstone, we can say that Ferrari was one of the most active teams in this respect. In particular, on Friday, they tested a revised version of the front wing just tested by Alonso, then discarded it as the feedback was not positive. Instead, changes brought to the rear end was used. In particular, the Italian cars adopted a new rear wing featuring vertical slits on the entry edge of the endplates in a similar fashion to Williams (the first team to adopt this solution few races ago, followed by McLaren and Red Bull). Also, the endplates of the F138 sported an increased array of horizontal slits on their upper section, so to improve the efficiency of the main wing profile in particular on the fast section of this track. Silverstone – tyres face their ultimate test TeCHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor