Given that the gap between the Chinese and Bahrain grand prix was just one, tweaks to the cars were minimal and were mainly aimed at cooling as the two circuits share quite similar downforce characteristics.
However more was learnt about McLaren’s Honda power unit plus a few other additions were also visible over the course of the weekend. Continue reading →
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 →
Not for the first time in their short F1 history, Red Bull have caused controversy regarding flexible bodywork around the front wing area. In Abu Dhabi both RB10s were excluded from qualifying after the FIA discovered that the upper flap on the front wing was flexing far too much, induced by an illegal device that is believed to be in the form of a leaf spring.
As F1 extends its stay in Abu Dhabi for a two day test mid-week, it was no surprise to see further developments on the cars during free practice despite being so late into the season. An early analysis of some components on Friday will help give the teams a headstart when the test begins, whilst also providing data that little bit earlier back to the factory as preparations for 2015 are well underway. Continue reading →
Due to customs regulations and the 3 days that separated the end of the Japanese GP and preparations for Russia, there were few technical developments brought to the new Sochi circuit.
It is for this reason that whilst we will still look at the minor changes seen on a few cars last weekend, this post will mainly analyse why McLaren appear to be getting on top of things and beginning to move forward in recent races. 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 →
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 →