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As of the start of the 2014 season, teams must nominate all 8 forward ratios (plus reverse) before the opening round. They then have only one opportunity, should they be willing to take it, to change their ratios during the season. That’s it. No bespoke gearing for each track and no free-spirited changing during a Grand Prix weekend.
Given all the computer, dyno and simulation technology at the F1 teams’ disposal, it’s quite amazing how varied the ratio selection is across the grid. There are some positive and negatives for each solution, but is there an optimum setup?
At the midway point in the season, I’m going to attempt to dissect some of the teams’ gear ratio choices and why, surprisingly, they have not converged to one solution. Continue reading →
Britain doesn’t tend to be a venue where vast upgrades are bolted onto the cars despite most of the teams being based a matter of minutes from Silverstone. It’s a little peculiar but the British grand prix just so happens to be at a place on the calendar where primary updates are still in the development stage. This is why we tend to see lots of parts brought to Spain/Canada, then Belgium after the summer break, and then again towards Japan for the final stint of the season.
However there were a variety of tweaks on display at the weekend, with McLaren and Red Bull being the busiest teams. Continue reading →
A test venue for many years, the Circuit de Catalunya is one of the ultimate performance benchmark tests for any single seater, F1 being no different. The long sweeping corners and quite abrasive track surface mean that both aerodynamic and tyre management characteristics are exposed to near maximum and it is for this reason that the teams opt to bring plenty of new parts for a laptime gain heading into the next 4 months of – barring Canada – European races.
I must admit that as I looked through the various technical galleries on Thursday, I was a little disappointed. Much had been said of the importance of this weekend for the championship and teams such as Lotus, McLaren and Caterham suggested that their cars would see drastic overhauls in a lot of key areas. This was, sadly, not the case although, as you are about to find out, a bucket load of tech still made its way to the cars up and down the grid. Continue reading →
Just one week separated the Malaysia and Bahrain Grand Prix which meant that few updates were seen this weekend. However, the relentless nature of F1 ensures that even small modifications are always being brought to the cars every race weekend and Bahrain was no exception. Continue reading →
Performance updates were sparse in Malaysia as the teams continue to optimise the 2014 power units. Red Bull in particular have been making large strides in this area but, as seen though the new FOM fuel use graphic during the race, continue to lag behind the Ferrari and Mercedes units in terms of efficiency – Vettel in particular was using a lot of fuel in his pursuit of Rosberg for second place during the later stages.
However there were still some notable modifications to be looked at. I expect a monumental amount of changes in Barcelona but for now there will be a steady stream of bits and pieces. Continue reading →
Formula 1 is officially back and, as for every single race weekend throughout the season, so is the Tech Highlights series, which aims to cover the most intriguing and important updates over the course of the year.
Although we have only seen a handful of major updates (which you are about to read about) so far this year, expect development to start ramping up very quickly. Most of the aerodynamic modifications have been fairly subtle as teams optimise the aero package around the cooling of the 2014 power units, with substantial performance boosters to come in the near future. Continue reading →