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GP Week : Issue 204
Closer but Merc still on top on Sunday TECHNICAL TeCHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor Two weeks ago in our technical analysis from Montreal, we ended our article by suggesting that Austria would probably be a perfect venue for another Mercedes walkover. We weren’t wide of the mark, considering the race result, although during this weekend the usual dominating pace of the Silver Arrows, was not as clear as usual, due to a combination of factors. The main factor was the layout of the track. In particular, this is one of the shortest tracks on the calendar and features only eight corners, that connect three straights to a twisty central section. The crucial feature in terms of car characteristics is the aero efficiency. Low drag, even if we can’t consider this track a fast one, as Monza, is definitely paramount to set a valuable lap time here. The demonstration of this was clearly given by the qualifying result of Williams. Since the first race of the season, we have praised the efficiency, especially in terms of low drag, of Massa’s and Bottas’ car, and here this car found the perfect ground to show all its potential. If we analyse the qualifying performance in each sector we see that Williams, was not only fast on the straights, but also managed a top overall performance in all the three sectors. Only Force India showed a similar pace and, of course, Mercedes. Looking at the speed analysis in Sector 1 it is clear how all the Merecedes powered teams were undoubtedly faster than all the other teams, with just McLaren struggling a bit. Ferrari and especially Red Bull were almost at the bottom off the list of the cars we took into account in this sector. In particular, the Red Bulls, due to the usual higher downforce level they have adopted since the start of the season, show a poor speed performance, trying t o maximize driveability and traction, especially through the few corners of this circuit. We have to suggest that they didn’t succeed entirely in that area either, not only due to the lack of performance of the PU, but in our opinion the chassis side and aero were far from being excellent. If we take into consideration Ferrari, we can see that, even if the red cars struggled in terms of top speed and lap times, their ‘sectorial’ performance, especially in the second sector, was not such a disaster when compared to Red Bull on one side and of course with Mercedes and Williams as positive benchmarks. AUSTRIA QUALIFYING SECTOR ANALYSIS T1 TIME ANALYSIS RANGE 16.9 – 17.4 16.9 17 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 ALONSO RAIKKONE N VETTEL RICCIARDO MAGNUSS. BUTTON MASSA BOTTAS HAMILTON ROSBERG T1 T1 QUALIFYING SECTOR ANALYSIS T1 SPEED ANALYSIS RANGE 298-‐318 KMH 298 302 306 310 314 318 ALONSO RAIKKONEN VETTEL RICCIARDO MAGNUSSEN BUTTON MASSA BOTTAS HAMILTON ROSBERG SPEED 1 SPEED 1 35 GPWEEK.com // 35 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> AUSTRIA PARTNERS: