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GP Week : Issue 204
TECHNICAL The Italian team introduced a heavily revised aero package, sporting a revised front, a new rear wing and especially, a new engine cover based on the version that was discarded in Canada. This version features a longer profile and no cooling slits, to maximize its aero efficiency in favor of the rear wing. Looking at the speed analysis we have to say that the Italian PU also showed lack of performance when compared with Mercedes, but not as bad as the Renault. Undoubtedly the car ’s dynamics have now found a more decent balance, at least on Raikkonen’s car, showing a more stable rear end, not swirling any more as in previous races. Of course we are talking about cars that still remain far from the top-of-the-list Mercedes, but we have also to say that even if this race, confirmed the Silver Arrows remains the benchmark for all the others, their gap seemingly appeared reduced, compared to few races ago. I am not talking of the time gap per se for, as we know, this track being one of the shortest of the season, generates a reduced gap between the cars per lap. Uf we look at the pace shown both in qualifying and then in the race, we see that neither Rosberg, nor Hamilton were able to push harder than they did. Our feeling was that, even though fuel consumption was pretty under control, it was reliability wise that the team decided not to put the car under excessive pressure, in particular the PU and its electrical systems. This race was run with a track temperature almost 16 degrees higher than in qualifying and practice sessions. Both Rosberg and Hamilton talked about the particular layout of the track and how it didn’t aid the cooling systems on their cars. It is important to add that only Mercedes features a vertically placed intercooler inside its chassis – an element that is part of the main engineering secrets of this car, but that under certain conditions, doesn’t provide the same heat exchange provided by more conventional systems. Of course this kind of circuit is just a one off in the calendar, and so such a kind of reliability headache shouldn’t repeat in the remaining races of the season. But one thing is clear. Mercedes has so far showed a dominant pace, but it hasn’t been entirely trouble- free, at least on Hamilton’s car. Their strength is in their performance itself. If their opponents can push harder and close the performance gap a little, it could be that even Mercedes could face some problems if they need to push harder to keep the leadership. Having said that, we are not saying that Mercedes is facing any particular imminent threat. In two weeks time it will be Silverstone, the home race of most of the teams on the grid – where all the UK-based teams usually debut deeply revised versions of their cars. Mercedes, based just few miles from the track, at Brackley, will not miss this opportunity, and very likely we will see interesting bits and pieces being put on the W05 hybrid, to keep if not increase, their current leadership in the Championship. QUALIFYING SECTOR ANALYSIS SECTOR T2 Time analysis RANGE 30.0 – 30.8 30 30.2 30.4 30.6 30.8 ALONSO RAIKKONEN VETTEL RICCIARDO MAGNUSSE N BUTTON MASSA BOTTAS HAMILTON ROSBERG T2 T2 QUALIFYING SECTOR ANALYSIS Sector T2 Speed analysis range 232 – 239.5 kmh 232 233.5 235 236.5 238 239.5 ALONSO RAIKKONEN VETTEL RICCIARDO MAGNUSSEN BUTTON MASSA BOTTAS HAMILTON ROSBERG SPEED 2 SPEED 2 36 GPWEEK.com // 36 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> AUSTRIA PARTNERS: