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27 Apr 2012

We won't see many revolutionary changes to the cars until we get back to Europe and the Barcelona GP so I'll take just a small sideways glance at what a few of the teams are upto.

Red Bull

You can tell a team is at odd's when they split their drivers with different packages:
Vettel decided to use the original Pre Season test design (above) which features a much less aero sensitive exhaust configuration.   As I have previously talked about, the 'Coanda effect' is being used by the teams to promote exhaust gases to flow around the sidepods toward the rear floor to generate downforce.
With Vettel's configuration the exhaust is placed toward the rear of the car just below the suspension arm, using this as a deflection tool to push air downstream. This configuration (due to the exhaust layout) has a much longer sidepod region which means the airflow has to travel much further down the car before it interacts with the exhaust airflow. Having the exhaust in this position is much more neutral and will give a less 'twitchy' car however net rear downforce could suffer.

Webber decided to go with the updated RB8 configuration (Above) which sports a much shorter sidepod region which is derived from a much further forward exhaust position. The idea behind this config is two-fold and perhaps the reason why RBR are having more issues making the setup work than say the C31's layout.
Airflow from the sidepod is sent toward the tunnel created under the sidepods sloping exit creating another floor. The idea is that the two airflow streams interact with one another with the downstream airflow from the sidepod enticing the air from the side of the sidepod through the tunnel whilst still staying attached above. This should create a deck effect allowing 2 types of flow instead of just the one in the case of the C31.

When I saw the quantity of new bits on the F2012 I thought we may see a kitchen sink attached somewhere. We all know that Ferrari aren't happy with the F2012 and we will more than likely see a F2012-B at Barcelona however that hasn't stopped them trying out a number of new items this weekend.

Front Wing

This McLaren-esque front wing endplate design features louvres which will remove the boundary layer from the inner side of the endplate speeding up flow. In turn an area of higher pressure mounts on the outside of the endplate which will help flex the wing downward.

Wing Mirror Airflow Conditioners

Next to the wing mirrors a couple of small flow conditioners have popped up.  These are placed here to help direct the upper tier of flow over the sidepod rather than having the detached flow from the Wing Mirror spiraling downward toward the sidepod entry.

Twin element Sidepod Flow Conditioner

As I haven't mentioned these previously I will now as Ferrari seem to be the only ones playing with this concept.

Rear Wing

Ferrari's rear wing endplates sport turning vanes on the outside that are not prominent in the designs of other cars. These were also on the Malaysia spec endplates but worth mentioning.

On the main planes there are now two notches on the top edge along with flow separators that run through the centre of these down to the bottom edge of the lower plane.
I'm pretty tired and at work at the moment but the only thing that springs to mind here is that they are there to make the rear wing imitate having 5 sections ( Central, two outbound and then the channel on the outside of these make the endplates behave as extension of the main planes)
The cutouts help curb vortices (drag) by pushing airflow across the width of the section (Rather than having pinch points)


McLaren's updates are a little less aggressive and so more difficult to represent. A new top main plane on the front wing which is beveled downward instead of outward is visible. Both cars are running a monkey seat (Small Wing that sits in the middle of the rear wing above the crash structure) these add more rear end downforce.
The use of a rear end airflow rig during free practice indicates some changes have been made to the rear diffuser. I'd also venture the angle of the exhaust position will have been altered to in turn use the Coanda Effect in a different way for this circuit.

Lastly after all the speculation about the Mercedes 'Super DRS' this picture of the ducting that runs the length of the chassis has cropped up. (For more on how Super DRS works have a look at my original article:

All pictures in this article are Copyright


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