2014 marks the beginning of a new era in Formula 1 through a number of ways, including the evolution of the modern steering wheel. F1 has been left behind in this area over the past decade, with many other forms of motorsport adopting new displays and making various performance factors easier to adjust from the cockpit. From this year onwards, however, the pinnacle of motorsport is set to become the trend setter in vehicle electronic systems via an upgrade to the steering wheel and, more obviously, the ERS. For this analysis I will be drawing particular reference from the Mercedes W05 steering wheel although many of the features will be identical to those found on the other cars.
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
Initially I was very surprised at the lack of (visible) updates on the cars during the first few days of the final test in Bahrain, which ended some 7 days ago. However as the days passed the changes started to creep their way in to such an extent that this piece has taken a while to become available to you. Only yesterday I found out about a few more bits and pieces that Mercedes brought!
So here is my final pre-season piece before Melbourne kicks off 2014 next week, hope you find it insightful!
With the highest mileage of any team (just ahead of Williams) throughout winter testing, Mercedes set about further enhancing their W05 package. Having released an outwardly more complex (if not the most complex) car than any other team, refinements have been made across the car rather than all-new parts being introduced.
Although this cannot be said for Mercedes’ new floor and diffuser modifications. Replacing the simplistic splitter up front is a new number, featuring two, long fences running alongside each side to guide airflow along the lower regions of the floor ahead of the sidepod.
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
2014 was all about a title push for Mercedes, and the W05 marks this intention. Outwardly more complex than its rivals at this stage, intriguing features are littered across the new Silver Arrow. With chassis and power unit developed under the same roof, could this new car be the fruition of a new dominant power in Formula 1?
Its appearance may be similar to the Ferrari F14 T, but the W05’s nose has a party trick up its sleeve.
The regulations require the tip of the nose to centre a point 185mm above the reference plane with a minimum 9000mm2 cross section. Normally, such is the demand for additional airflow beneath the chassis to produce rear downforce, a single cross section is formed to create the “finger” nose that we are widely seeing across the grid for this season.