Spa Francorchamps is a track with a very unique set of demands: top speed for the long Kemmel straight and the run through Blanchimont, whilst maximising grip in the high-speed middle sector. It’s a tricky balance – year after year we see teams bring multiple packages to this event to find the perfect tradeoff. 2015 is no different, and there were plenty of items to look at across the Belgian grand prix weekend.
This week’s Tech Highlights covers Mercedes’ impressive-looking rear wing, Ferrari’s low downforce package and McLaren-Honda’s continual woes (despite a power unit upgrade) amongst plenty of other tech news as the second half of the season kicks off. Continue reading →
The Hungaroring in Budapest is one of the most old-school tracks of the year, featuring a mixture of slow/mid-speed corners that really challenge a Formula 1 car’s chassis capabilities. Because of this, we see plenty of teams who do not necessarily have a good powertrain shine through if their aerodynamic package is strong, such as Red Bull.
There is only one long straight where a good engine can really stretch its legs, so downforce levels are almost as high as Monaco but a good chassis balance is better rewarded due to the sweeping corners in the middle sector, whilst traction is less of a key factor.
Whilst most of the teams will be preparing a substantial upgrade for when F1 returns after the summer break, there were some noteworthy changes to some of the cars in Hungary. In this week’s Tech Highlights we will look at upgrades from McLaren, Williams, Red Bull and Mercedes, plus a look into the reasons behind Sergio Perez’s rear suspension failure during FP1 and indeed Nico Hulkenberg’s front wing failure during the race. Continue reading →
The FIA are poised to introduce a new test on front wings in an attempt to crack down on extreme cases of flexing that have often been seen this year via the car’s onboard cameras, as of the Canadian grand prix.
The front wings are currently tested by placing a large load on the endplates to prevent excessive bending and twisting at speed – as seen primarily during the 2011 season – which focuses on the main wing structure.
However the new test is aimed specifically at the wing’s inboard flap section, which have already caused controversy before the 2015 season when Red Bull were excluded from qualifying in Abu Dhabi after their wing was discovered to contain an extreme amount of movement under load in an illegal manner. Continue reading →
The opening round of the season in Melbourne produced few technical upgrades, although most of what was brought to the final test session was intended for the opening races of 2015. Whilst we can expect a few more bits for Malaysia, this Technical Highlights post runs through a couple of the larger developments from the teams from the final Barcelona test and the minor detail changes made for Australia. Continue reading →
Although I have started my in depth posts on 2014, some viewers have suggested that I do a quick, bitesize summary post. This will be a short overview of the changes in the technical regulations for next season, informing you of all the facts and figures that you will want/need to know before the season commences in Australia, four months away.
For further information on any of items below, simply click on the sub-titles below for a more in depth analysis! Continue reading →
One team engineer described the 2014 regulation changes as a “tidal wave” compared to the “ripple” that were the 2009 rule changes, and we all knew how drastically different the cars looked aesthetically and how the racing changed, too. Most of the challenge comes from developing the new “power units” – a 750bhp V6 turbo engine with additional recovery systems (recovering heat under braking and heat energy from the turbocharger) to provide a 160bhp boost for 33 seconds per lap (more on this in a later post). Aerodynamically, teams face another task of providing ample cooling to the power units while also maintaining performance, a challenge made harder by new limits being applied to the crucial elements that provide a significant amount of downforce.
As 2013 developments have become scarce, I have decided to start posting 2014 articles a bit earlier than planned. Analysis: 2014 – Aerodynamics aims to look at different aerodynamic solutions for next year’s cars as a number of rule changes come in. This first installment will cover the new front wing, front bulkhead/chassis and nose layout.
The front wing will receive a bit of a trim next year, reducing its width from 1800mm to 1650mm – 75mm lopped off each side. 75mm is quite a substantial amount, so the engineers will have to rethink the way the airflow is managed around the front tyres.
The above image shows what the front wing will look like relative to the current wing (dashed lines). One debate that has cropped up on forums lately has been the idea of reverting back to an “inwash” endplate, pinching the profile of the ‘plate inwards and passing airflow inside of the front tyre rather than than around it like we currently see (via an “outwash” endplate curving outwards). The endplate is beyond halfway of the tyre tread so I would assume that it is still slightly more efficient to produce an outwash endplate. Teams will want to continue with this design as they have been using it since 2009 (when the current regulations came in), so the car’s aerodynamic philosophy will be based around the aerostructures of the outwash endplate. Continue reading →