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 →
Note: This is essentially my analysis piece for Richland F1, with some added bits and pieces, illustrations and details about the fuel flow monitoring changes that were introduced. Exam season is in full swing so apologies for the not-so-exclusive content this week.
Barcelona is pretty much the best playground for an F1 car. Aerodynamics are severely tested with a variety of long, high and medium speed corners spaced out by a series of straights, whilst the final sector is now a good hunting ground for those with strong mechanical grip after the circuit layout changed in 2008.
With such an emphasis on aero, updates are often developed from around the end of the winter testing period specifically for this race and on into the middle of the season. Teams recognise this as an opportunity to jump ahead of their nearest rival but with almost everyone making gains all of the time, eking out that extra tenth of a second from the overall package is all the more crucial. Continue reading →
As the season begins to draw to a dramatic close, the development race never ceases. The Japanese GP represented a great opportunity for teams to bring new parts, particularly aero related as Suzuka is a demanding in this aspect.
This was also the first weekend of some serious data collection regarding 2015, as F1 begins to focus even more on next year in anticipation of the new nose regulations amongst other things. 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 →
Whilst we have not been to the Red Bull Ring for some 11 years, the track is very similar to the likes of the Hungaroring and Silverstone: a mixture of medium/high speed corners with a few heavy braking zones thrown in for good measure. It is therefore a circuit that requires slightly higher downforce levels and good driveability from the power unit due to the multitude of undulations. The track’s gradient, particularly in the traction areas, puts the a lot of lateral acceleration into the tyres which can easily cause them to overheat, hence the importance of a strong power unit. Continue reading →
The Canadian Grand Prix never fails to produce and 2014 was no exception. As always is the challenge at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, brakes were a critical area where a number of teams were caught out. The MGU-K does most of the reverse torque on the rear axle this year so teams have been running far smaller rear brakes – discs and calipers. This means that, when we get a situation such as the MGU-K failing on the Mercedes, the rear brakes are put under a lot more stress and fatigue quickly. Coupled with the low downforce packages making it difficult to stop the cars from high speed and high track temperatures, you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster… 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 →