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 →
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 →
Barring Lotus, the first of two test sessions in Bahrain presented the opportunity for teams to start to delve deeper into their new cars for the upcoming season. Jerez, due to its odd track characteristics, gives teams the chance to shakedown their challengers and put mileage on the next generation of F1 machinery. In Bahrain, however, set-up exploration, race simulation and aerodynamic work start to make their way to the top of the to-do list.
Although we perhaps did not see a huge amount of updates externally, there were a few notable changes to some of the cars and I am sure that many items were addressed to internally post-Jerez.
The C33 was perhaps a little simplistic at the first test therefore it was no surprise to see some a host of additional bodywork make its way onto the car.
As seen in the launch images before testing began, Sauber installed the vertical sidepod airflow conditioner and horizontal vane for the Bahrain test. It is interesting to note the angle at which the conditioner lies relative to the floor – it is very aggressive. Continue reading →