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 →
Bernie Ecclestone has to decide whether he wants Pirelli or Michelin (or perhaps both) to produce tyres for Formula 1 from 2017 onwards, but he has a few factors to consider. Michelin will only supply tyres if they are able to manufacture 18 inch wheels, rather than the current standard of 13 inches. Whilst Pirelli have tested the former wheel concept a few times over the past two years, they do not seem overly fussed as to which direction the sport takes and, to top it all off, the teams would rather stick with the current design.
So why are 18 inch wheels becoming an increasingly popular size in motorsport? Formula E tyres (which are supplied by Michelin) are wrapped around the larger sized alloy rim, but what difference does this make to the car’s performance? This blog post aims to answer these exact questions. Continue reading →
Although the current generation of cars are the fastest in F1 history in a straight line, the unique characterstics of Monza are the result of a bespoke aerodynamic package brought by most teams for the Italian GP. Most teams will spend a solid two weeks designing these packages in order to generate a good car balance for the various chicanes which litter the circuit whilst cutting drag and improving top speed.
In case you were wondering, we saw top speeds of 225mph with DRS in use on the main straight, the fastest speeds ever recorder in Monza. Of course Juan Pablo Montoya’s highest average speed of 162.9mph during pre-qualifying in 2004 remains unbeatable for now, but it just proves that despite all the fuss made about this year’s cars not being fast enough was, well, just a fuss.
Overall top speed was, however, limited by the energy usage capabilities inside this year’s hybrids. You will be aware of the fact that sometimes we see cars at the end of the straight with the rain-light blinking. This is to indicate that the MGU-H has gone into harvest mode and the turbo’s rpm is reduced significantly as a result and slowing the car down. When riding on board with cars reaching the end of the main straight, the engine rpm dropped significantly and this was a particular feature on Valtteri Bottas’s Williams. Continue reading →