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GP Week : Issue 195
In Abu Dhabi, two weeks ago, we were able to see how the seed for next seasons’ car development has been sown by most of the teams on the grid. Of course not everyone is putting effort in this direction as some, in particular Ferrari, are still fighting for the runner-up position in the championship. Nevertheless it is interesting to note that Red Bull, Mercedes and even Lotus, (the last two still competing against Ferrari), are doing a relevant job in terms of already mimicking the effects of 2014 regs within the current 2013 boundaries. To be honest also Ferrari is trying to follow this path, and partially here the move worked. For the second time Ferrari tested on the F138 the bridge turning vanes after they briefly tried and discarded them in Abu Dhabi. The solution was again stripped off the car after practice, but at the same time another element of development was put on the car, and kept for the remainder of the weekend. We are talking about a revised front wing, that is a further evolution of the one seen two weeks ago in the UAE. Now, the additional winglets sport in their innermost section, two slits instead of the standard single one. Furthermore, this section looks dramatically curved upwardly, compared to previous version. This element now works, coupled to the revised endplate introduced in Abu Dhabi and seems to have guaranteed a better front end balance, especially in the rapid direction changes in the series of esses typical of this track layout. We also noted how Red Bull, this time that following the trend introduced by Williams few races ago, adopted an evolution of the Coanda exhaust, but no longer blowing outwardly, instead longitudinally placed, to partially reduce the blowing effect onto the diffuser. All the rear bodywork is slightly changed with the ‘skin’ around the engine having a different profile, with some of it wrapping around the engine and its airbox differently from the previous version, sporting an additional vent, to better dissipate the heat generated in this tightly packed area. The configuration seems closer and closer to the one that will be used on next year’s car. It is pretty impressive when you understand that this kind of configuration partially affects the top end aero performance of the RB9, and a certain downforce reduction is the consequence. Nevertheless, the car maintained its perfect balance and huge competiveness. ALotus followed the same path as Red Bull here, both teams using the same engine are trying configurations that will ease their task in engine installation and also aero data collection, for next year’s car. Mercedes is also adopting elements that will be useful in 2014. One of these is the double DRS that is continuously tested, in the hope of making it consistent in term of drag reduction and at the same time a valuable element in terms of air extraction, as next years cars will sport high centrally-placed exhausts, and beam wings will no longer be allowed. All these ingredients are spicing up the interest of us technical commentators, and for sure there will be more when we report to you in one week’s time from Sao Paulo! COTA – more 2014 testing ... TeCHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor 43 GPWEEK.com // 43 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> UNITED STATES