Note: Due to a lack of time (as explained in my Announcements 5 blog post) most of this has been copied off my analysis piece for Richland F1, with some added extras that I worth noting.
Shanghai is a bit of a tricky track to set the car up for as the corners are predominantly medium speed with long traction zones (especially the large banked turn onto the huge back straight), but there are plenty of straights to make up time on.
It is for these reasons that we tend to see a compromised aerodynamic package which will later be seen in races such as Canada, where the trade-off between downforce and top speed is constantly being assessed throughout the weekend.
The lengthy corners also put a focus on front tyre life, particularly the front left, so you can’t take too much wing off the car or else you risk putting the tyres in jeopardy. Even if you have slightly too little downforce the tyres won’t stay in their optimum temperature because the straights cool them down before the driver even reaches the braking zone – you could say that it is one of the toughest rounds of the year regarding setup.
To solve these problems teams bring upgrades, which are ideally more efficient at producing downforce than the outgoing component. Continue reading →
Part 2 of mine and Matt Somerfield‘s eBook on how the Mercedes W05 dominated in 2014 is available to buy on the Google Play store for just over £4. It explains all the aerodynamic details of the (statistically) most successful F1 car to date and also runs over topics such as FRIC suspension (pictured above). Please purchase it – a lot of effort went into this part of the eBook so we would really appreciate your support.
The MP4-30 is very much a revolutionary car for McLaren. Make no mistake, with Honda coming back into Formula 1 as an exclusive supplier to the Woking-based squad, this is a big year for a team that have been busy putting the right people in the right places to succeed again. Aero-wise, Peter Prodromou’s Red Bull influence is already evident on their 2015 challenger and there are plenty of technical details to discuss around the power unit, too.
Starting at the front of the car and it is clear that the entire aerodynamic concept of the MP4-30 is miles from last year’s philosophy. This in turn sets up the rest of the car’s aero characteristics, so you can really see just how much effort has gone into this area to regain ground on the others. Continue reading →
At first glance, you may be fooled into thinking that this year’s Ferrari F1 challenger is no more extraordinary than the (rather ordinary) F14 T of last year. When I first saw the launch photos I was, at first, amazed by the apparent lack of change. Look closer, however, and – especially when comparing it with the 2014 car – the SF15-T becomes more logical and sophisticated.
Ferrari were winless for the first time in two decades in 2014. Ultimately, heads rolled and total restructuring across all departments was made during the early winter. Perhaps the fruits of the upheaval won’t be apparent until 2016 or even 2017, but I get the feeling that the SF15-T is the first Ferrari to really have James Allison’s influence stamped all over it entirely. Continue reading →
After an incredible return to the front end of the grid, Williams hope to consolidate their recent upturn by fighting for more podiums and potentially victories in 2015. Heavy investment (that ultimately put them in debt) last year has indeed paid off as a host of new sponsors join the Martini-striped FW37, a car that looks like a good progression of last year’s concept.
After the first test in Jerez, Williams were joint top of the speed traps (along with Mercedes) despite running on lower power. A recent interview with Pat Symonds revealed that the team have aimed to retain its low-drag characteristics from last year whilst making a good step forward in downforce and early indications suggest this is exactly what they have done. Continue reading →
After reigning supreme for four years on the bounce, Red Bull experienced a rollercoaster 2014. The year started poorly but, despite their problems, they were still able to capitilise on any Mercedes blunders to pick up three victories and finish second in the Constructors’ championship.
However, a lot rides on 2015 being a successful bounce back to form as Renault have effectively jumped on board solely with Red Bull (and Toro Rosso) to create a manufacturer team. With Adrian Newey taking a more relaxed role within the team, this really could be sink or swim time – Newey and his side man Peter Prodromou (who now works as chief aerodynamicist at McLaren) have departed, as has Sebastian Vettel, the man who the entire team was built around.
The RB11 is arguably their boldest car to leave Milton Keynes since the new regulations in 2009. Yes, it is still very much an evolution of last year’s RB10 but there is a lot more ambition about its design. Aware of the fact that Renault have to make up about 20% of their power deficit to even match Mercedes this year, the chassis has a variety of new features aimed at overthrowing the rest of the grid in terms of downforce production. Continue reading →
Mercedes are “out to win” this year’s championship rather than defend their crown, according to senior personnel and two-time World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. They are aware that the opposition – particularly given that in-season power unit development has been allowed – are likely to be making significant gains in performance to catch them. F1 can change very quickly and the seniors at Mercedes know all too well of this.
Improvements have mainly been made within the car to keep them at arm’s length although there are a number of aerodynamic tweaks that have been beneficial. Both drivers have confirmed that there is more downforce on the new W06 than last year’s dominant car, although Jerez is not really the ideal place to be making comparisons given its unique track surface and cool temperatures. Continue reading →