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31 May 2012
Why have Williams come back to the top?

In previous seasons we have been in a situation where there is a clear leader and the other teams use this as queue to go off and develop a version of that cars best trick.At Mugello we saw the first attempts at copying the McLaren exhaust solution from Sauber and Force India whilst Caterham had a bash at Newey's 'Tunnel'. Rumour had it that Ferrari would turn into the Ferrabaur in an attempt to assimilate the Saubers exhaust solution. This all goes to show how close the field is with not one car clearly dominating.

Williams have not only reestablished their Renault partnership that was so fruitful in years gone by but they have chosen a different path to some of the other leading cars.
The most striking difference about the FW34 is its lack of rear cooling slot and shrink wrapped engine cover. We all know from previous Red Bull designs that the Renault engine is highly efficient in terms of cooling requirements and it seems Williams have gone 1 step further than even Newey dare go. The extremely skinny gearbox that Williams use also goes a long way to help with the svelt rear end. These elements combined leave a large operating space for airflow at the rear of the Williams in order to flow air onto the rear floor.

The FW34's side pods end quite abruptly with the exhausts exiting along with the airflow coming through the side pods in order to combine these flows energizing the latter. This allows for a much broader flow to exit toward the rear of the car much further forward than if it were to exit from an engine cover cooling slot.This flow enables the diffuser to work more effectively further forward on the car.

Williams' monkey seat is unique in that it sits on a stem protruding from above the gearbox and so can effectively operate within a larger window as it effected by the airflow over the seat. Williams' seat isn't constrained to providing downforce in a straight line but as it pivots through corners it will provide a different effect. As speed increases the stem it sits on can flex thus bleeding off some of the drag it creates as the seat goes backwards. This isn't possible with the conventional monkey seats being used by the others as it would require a flexible Beam Wing.

Williams also have employed some vertical slots in their endplates which act like the louvres above them reducing drag.

All in all just like many of the other teams Williams are using many different solutions in their design ethos but come very close to the same net result.
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Sauber Cut an F1 car in half

Thought I'd write a short piece about the video that Sauber released yesterday.  A great idea by Sauber that apparently took two years to complete.  The car in question is a BMW Sauber F1.08 so a few years old, however it goes a long way to show the core elements and packaging involved in creating an F1 car.  You can see how tightly packaged the components are with the voids left only for crash/impact protection reasons. As its an 08 car there are no KERS components on the car and refueling was still around in 08 so the fuel tank will be slightly smaller in size than it's modern counterpart.  I'm hoping the team may release so high res images so I can explain aspects of the car more closely.  The 08 season was at the end of a regulation run as you can tell by all of the additional aero elements on the car.  Anyway enough from me, here's the video below:

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28 May 2012
Red Bull 'Tyre Squirt' Duct - Part 1

Red Bull have been using the duct in front of the rear tyres for a number of races. It seemed that at Monaco one the teams may protest its use and force Red Bull to start from the pits having to change the floor on both cars. Red Bull are not the only team to have a similar element on their car. Both Sauber and Ferrari have their own iterations. 

The reason for such a floor cut out is to reduce 'tyre squirt' this is when the flow that ejects from the sidewall of the tyre squirts into the path of the diffuser.
The slot/duct in front of the tyre redirects the airflow intended to hit the tyre head on minimizing the 'squirt' effect toward the diffuser. Squirt wasn't so much of a problem when EBD was in use as its impact on the diffuser flow wasn't enough to warrant the requirement of flow adjustment.

Red Bulls duct is totally different to Sauber and Ferraris iterations as they have a slot cut out of the edge of the floor or in the case of Ferrari the slots meet with the edge of the floor which circumnavigates the rule about having holes in the floor of the car. As always teams will always interpret the rules very differently and Red Bull are interpreting two separate rules here and joining them to form one. 

Instead of defining their slot on the outer edge of the floor (like Sauber/Ferrari, seen in the picture below of Ferrari's 3 slots at the edge of the floor) Red Bull are instead using the aero strake as a piece of bodywork thus the aperture is still a slot and not a hole. Had they enclosed the duct before reaching the strake it would be a hole. This has the advantage of being able to inject airflow further inbound to straighten the tyre squirt flow more than the Ferrari/Sauber solutions.

In the picture below I have highlighted the sections in yellow that relate to the rules on the floor and in Blue for the section of aero strake that is defined as bodywork. (The strake is now in White) The small red mark denotes the edge of the tyre as it does look at first like part of the duct.
As the two elements interact with one another both rules have to be deemed in play making this a slot and not a hole.

The other option that Red Bull may have adopted with this solution is that the strake, the curved element and part of the strake housing are all housed atop of the floor and the slot is in the floor below.  I have tried to show this area below as it's marked out in the original photo

Amended 4.29PM 28/05/12 with new photo

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17 May 2012
no image

Much has been written already about the issue of tyre degradation the teams face. Thermal degradation is this seasons buzz word(s) but I'll go onto explain that it's not only the tyres affecting the closeness of this years racing.

Aerodynamic Influence

The loss of EBD (exhaust blown diffusers) has been a massive hammer blow for most of the leading teams. As we all know energized airflow created by the exhaust gases above the diffuser area used to generate massive amounts of downforce.
This downforce generated at the rear needed to be carefully counter balanced by the equal amount of front downforce. With EBD banned the teams are trying more ways in which to gain back the lost downforce. Some of the teams have adopted neutral exhaust positions where as others are using bodywork and angling of the exhausts to promote flow toward the floor. Due to the inaccurate nature of this flow in open atmosphere an element of tyre warming is inevitable. This may well be accelerating some of the rear tyre degredation we have been seeing.


Bearing in mind the loss of additional pressure generated on the rear suspension by the loss of EBD this needs to be balanced up front and so the suspension yo-yo effect begins. Each aerodynamic update presented to the car requires the suspension settings to be tweaked to gain improved traction.
McLarens new higher nose can be seen as the largest representation of this so far this season with a big aero balance shift. Their new nose allows more air to flow toward the leading edge of the floor and then onward to the diffuser. This will require the team to adjust their suspension settings to counteract the additional downforce being generated at the front combined with the loss of some front end downforce.
We all saw last year how far Red Bull were willing to go in terms of pushing the limits of the Pirelli's at Spa when they were adding a pretty serious amount of 'camber' to their setup. (Adding camber leans the tyre in at the top toward the car). This has the benefit of giving a larger 'contact patch' (more surface area of the tyre touching the ground) however the further you lean the tyre the more chance you have of tyre failure and/or changing the character of the tyre as you are effectively using the sidewall of the tyre to do a job it wasn't designed to do. I haven't heard much so far this year about the amount of camber being used but I'd pretty much guarantee the teams are pushing the limits of what is viable.

Weight Distribution

The FIA added the following rule for the 2011 / 2012-2013 seasons:

4.2 For 2012 and 2013 only, the weight applied on the front and rear wheels must not be less than 291kg and 342kg respectively at all times during the qualifying practice session.
If, when required for checking, a car is not already fitted with dry-weather tyres, it will be weighed on a set of dry-weather tyres selected by the FIA technical delegate.

This effectively narrowed the operating window of many teams who were perhaps running more exotic suspension setups in order to attain better aerodynamic advantage. Rake is an important element in adjusting the area available in the diffuser as the rake increases so does the volume available in the diffuser. EBD allowed considerably more air to flow through the diffuser last year and thus many teams are running with much less rake this year. This is not the only reason though, when running more rake you are effectively pointing the car nose down. This will tilt the weight distribution forward and as we can see from the new rules this is something the FIA is trying to minimize. With those 2 mandated minimum weights combined (633kg's) this only leaves 7kg's of 'free weight' Due to the minimum car weight of 640kg's. This allows the teams a little more than a bag of sugar to distribute weight how and where they want. Rearward weight should give better traction where as weight placed forward may help those who can generate more airflow to the diffuser gain rear downforce. The weight distribution rule narrows the window available for the teams and so as far as I can tell this rule is much more of a contributing factor to the closeness in racing than the tyres themselves.

I do however see alot of fans angry that Pirelli may have gone too far with their compounds making them degrade too quickly. I think we have to consider that with the aforementioned weight distribution having stronger compounds will only give a linear result.

Driving Style

When a driver finds a setup sweet spot they are able to capitalize on this linearity and drive the tyres beyond their usual operating window much like Sergio and Lewis have done so far this season.
You will probably have noticed that some of the memorable drives from this seasons 5 races have come
from drivers out of position who have come back through the field by 'better managing their tyres' I however believe this has more to do with their lines during those laps. These drivers tend to spend less time caught up with drivers on the same strategy as them and with the aid of DRS overtake cars that have less pace. Ultimately it also means they spend a fair amount of time 'off line' which is essentially a colder surface and remember we are talking about 'Thermal' degradation, yes it may be dustier and have some marbles but it may remove some of the over heating effect from the surface temperature of the tyre. What do you do with your wet or intermediate tyres on a drying track (racing line)? That's right you get off the line and cool them off. Remember Lewis' pass on the 2 Toro Rosso cars? Yes it may of been instinctive as a racer for him to take the undercut style but it was not only more aerodynamically efficient (getting out of the turbulent air) but I think perhaps took much less life out of the tyre through a cooler contact patch.  The racing line is a build up of rubber created by reoccurring usage of the same line, as I'm not a tyre engineer I can't be sure but surely this creates a more abrasive surface and in turn heats the tyre more.

In Summary

Let's not be so hasty to jump on the Pirelli hate bandwagon and realize more factors are in play than simply Degradation due to excessive wear.  Pirelli were given a brief by the FIA to provide tyres with a bigger drop off to aid the show and make the racing much closer.  They have achieved this but I feel it's also important to realise that the effect the FIA made on the cars by removing EBD and also mandating weight distribution will also be contributing to the effect.  Many are questioning the tyres due to their degradation rate but we have to remember that all teams have equal footing in terms of rules/car design.  Those that spent more time analyzing and designing around the tyre effect are having a more productive season than most.  Lest we also forget that the teams that have been best utilising exhaust effects over the last few years in order to gain downforce have less data and indeed experience in gaining time from suspension setup at lower ratio aero efficiency than teams like Lotus, Williams and Force India.

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10 May 2012
McLarens MP4-27 New Nose

As I bought up on the blog the other day McLaren used a revised Nose at Mugello.  They only ran it very briefly at the end of the test (Around 5 laps) but this wasn't a short enough time for the eagle eyes out there to miss it.  Since then Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that McLaren will try the new nose at Barcelona this weekend.

So why the new nose?

McLaren were at odd's with the other teams this year who had opted to run much closer to the highest allowable surface area's which has resulted in the ugly 'step noses'.  It's not only the nose on the McLaren though that was set much lower.  To allow for the gradual curve we have been used to in F1 McLaren also have a lower bulkhead than most of it's oposition.  Their design centre's around having the driver at a lower level thus lowering the overall CoG, this also means having the suspension geometry lower and so no need for the higher bulkhead.  (A higher bulkhead would have meant raising the driving position for better field of view)

For a few years now McLaren have run with the 'snowplough' under the nosecone as their turning vane(s) the snowplough also acts as a vortice generator creating energised flow toward the front edge of the floor.  The original iteration of the McLaren nose also ran with the 'snowplough' (Jerez below) with the FOM camera's outbound of the wing pylons.

Toward the end of the Barcelona test (Below) McLaren tested with the FOM camera's moved into the central section of the wing and removed the snowplough in favour of some much more neutral turning vanes.  My best guess for this solution is that although the snowplough is a very effective element (acting as an additional wing) with the loss of EBD having the vortices it creates interacting with the front of the floor was bad for 'aero' business.  Things need to be balanced and so there is no point having something generate downforce in a certain area if you can't attain the same net result further down the chain.

Without the use of EBD this year the aim is to gain back as much rear end downforce as possible and this is the biggest reason as to why the teams went with the 'step nose' designs in the first place.  Having the nose in the higher configuration will allow more air to flow under the car thus speeding up the diffuser's effectiveness. McLaren were trying to play cat and mouse with this flow area and rob some airflow to generate more downforce atop of the floor, it's a balancing act of 1 flow vs the other.

The new nose is a compromise as McLaren don't have the bulkhead height to warrant the step, this also means they don't have to have such an agressive ramp styling from the bulkhead down to the nose tip.  Their nose has more scope to fit within the height regulations however due to the bulkhead dimensions it does mean a sharper under nose gradient back to the bulkhead.  I don't see this as a bad thing as it should redirect the flow lower as the air detatches from the underside of the nose pushing the air below it to do the same.  I think we may also see a different set of turning vanes appear on the car soon in order to better utlise this flow or maybe a reimagined snowplough.

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7 May 2012
Mugello Test - McLaren New Nose

This one had got by me until I saw it over on - McLaren tested a different nosecone at the end of the Mugello test.  At first glance it appears the same but as you can see from the photo's it's got a much higher frontal tip and a much shallower curve from the bulkhead to the nose tip.  Much longer wing pylons also point toward how much higher the front wing is.  So finally this is McLaren's compromise between a step nose configuration and their lower iteration.  McLaren will more than likely adopt this new design as it will help to drive more airflow toward the floor of the car.


Bahrain (Ignore the Red Circle it's only appropriate to another article)

Here's the original Italian Article

Photo's Copyright & Sutton Images via
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6 May 2012
Super DRS / DDRS another alternative? - Sunday Afternoon Musings

Firstly I'd like you to take this blog post with a pinch of salt, it's something I've been thinking about and wanted to get down on paper, so seeing as I had a little spare time this afternoon I thought I would. I'm not saying it's legal (although I see no reason it wouldn't be) or cost effective in terms of running the CFD, Simulations & Wing Tunnel in order to gain what could be a small amount of time on track. However if it's viable it should give a small performance jump in qualifying and make the car quicker for overtaking opportunities in the race and also return some additional downforce at all other times.

When the FIA deemed the use of additional systems employed by DRS legal in the Mercedes/Lotus dispute the FIA made the following statement:

1. There are many different parts of bodywork fitted to cars from a variety of teams, which have been designed specifically to take advantage of the change in airflow caused by the activation of the DRS.
2. The modifications on Cars 7 and 8 are examples of the above.
3. The Mercedes design complies with all bodywork geometric and stiffness regulations.
4. The design is entirely passive and has no moving parts whatsoever.
5. The sole purpose of the "DRS" (or the "system" as referred to in the regulations) as stated in Article 3.18.3, is to improve overtaking. The Mercedes design is completely consistent with this objective.
6. . Noting the agreement of Lotus that "if the hole currently located in the rear end plate was located elsewhere and permanently exposed, this would be acceptable", there is no reason why the locating of the hole is the current position on Cars 7 and 8 should not also be acceptable. 7. In relation to the 5 questions posed by Lotus, all 5 of which Lotus assert (and the Stewards agree) if answered in the affirmative, would rule the vehicles ineligible;
(i) Article 3.15 does not apply because it does not directly use driver movement, as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car. The alteration is indirectly (and not directly) consequential to the movement of the driver adjustable bodywork ("DRS")
(ii) The second question posed is not relevant in light of (i) above
(iii) The Mercedes design is not a "system" or "device" in its own right, it is part of a design made to take advantage of the change in airflow caused by the activation of the DRS (refer 1 above)
(iv) The Mercedes design is not activated by driver movement. It is a consequence of a change of position of the driver adjustable bodywork, which is permitted under the regulations.
(v) The Mercedes design does appear to alter the aerodynamic characteristics of the car by reducing the drag, however this is consistent with the intent of the regulations.

Taking all of this into account we can also surmise that should another passive aero device be influenced by a slot under the DRS wing the FIA would concede that it be legal too. This brings into question what is also achievable in terms of duct style bodywork when using DRS as the fluidic switch.

The Mercedes system relies heavily on being designed at the same time as the chassis with enough space having been left in and around the cockpit and the bulkhead for the tubing. Perhaps then we abandon the idea of using the front wing and look in other regions of bodywork that could be prudent for blowing or stalling. As with anything aero related in F1 the exhaust region would offer the biggest gain in this area but it's perhaps not the only region you could/would want to affect.

With the 2012 regulations requiring a periscope design exhaust we have seen many variations on location/orientation/position of exhausts in order to manipulate exhaust gas. The teams know due to it's velocity the exhaust offers an airflow that if channeled correctly can provide significant downforce. McLaren's exhaust position may at first seem a little cumbersome but it attains what the other teams are now trying to copy. Using the Coanda effect it manipulates the airflow from both on top and the side of the sidepod allowing the airflow to stay attached for longer and converging on the rear floor helping to seal the diffuser below. Adjusting the angle of exhaust exit will have an effect on how the manipulation occurs like opening/closing a window for more or less airflow.

Each engine type will have different demands on the tuning lengths required for the exhausts so manipulating their positioning will have a push and pull effect in terms of engine and aerodynamic effect. The openings available for the exhausts to exhale into are also mandated in the regulations in terms of surface area. This can also limit the potential extraction of more aerodynamic effect.

So why am I talking about exhausts I hear you say when we could be talking about DRS ducts, well I’m getting there.

In modern F1 the consensus has been to duct the airflow created internally in the sidepods inbound and out of the cooling duct at the rear of the engine cover. Ferrari and Sauber are this year exhausting the air slightly inbound of this with Ferrari using their 'Acer Ducts' and Sauber a similar solution.
As a requirement of cooling, this air needs to move through the car so why not use it? As that’s the case why don't we use it to aerodynamically influence somewhere else? It's obviously not going to provide the same force as an exhaust would but by manipulating space with tuned tubing you can speed up the flow. Due to the regulations you can't simply place holes in any position you so desire and would have to have to open up an area of bodywork at the rear of the sidepod. I'm not saying any of this definitively legal I'm just proposing a situation if it were  (Mercedes have used some cooling louvres in a similar position this season).

If we use the image I have mocked up below I'll try to explain my theory.

In RED is the area of the floor which relates to the diffuser below. In order to better utilise the diffuser you want to get as much air as possible traveling over this area.

The GREEN section highlights the most neutral position you could put the exhaust in but this comes with a compromise as the air cascades over the top of the Sidepod it converges with the flow that comes from around the side of the sidepod. The 2 flows won't interact with one another very well as they will differ in speed and the airflow contra rotates against the sidepod as it trys to escape into the lower area of pressure (Behind the Sidepod)

The ORANGE section represents the position being most commonly used this season in order to help manage both the downwash over the sidepod and the sideflow from around the sidepod accelerating and converging the two flows into a more uniform flow whilst also manipulating their direction both down and inward toward the RED section of floor.

The YELLOW section represents the open section of bodywork I mention to blow out the air from the sidepod/radiator entry. (Many options of shape/orientation/position could be used here to utilise the ejected airflow) This would have the effect of reattaching the flow around the bodywork for longer toward the exhaust outlet allowing the position to be angled further toward the GREEN section in turn pushing more directional flow over the RED section of the floor.

This of course could be used in a passive way just like Ferrari are trying to do with the Acer Duct or it could be tied to Super DRS, using DRS as part of the fluid switch the airflow would travel down the Rear Wing Endplates, through the Beam Wing, through the tubing inside the bodywork to the fluid switch where it will redirect the flow from the sidepod exit to the rear end cooling outlet. The net result of this will be a net gain in downforce until DRS is activated at which point the airflow from around the side of the sidepod will no longer interact / stay attached to the sidepod for as long and so the diffuser's downforce level would drop reducing the amount of drag.

In Summary

There are many ways in which using DRS as a means of turning bodywork on or off could be effective. If a team decides to utilise the system in a region that is effected by exhaust gas the results could be much larger. The decision now that a Super DRS / DDRS system is legal is, is it worth the cost and time to develop a system that can give a huge difference on track?
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4 May 2012
Mugello Test - Ferrari Technical Roundup

Ferrari were the team that spearheaded an in season testing revival. As most will agree Ferrari have been slow to make alterations to a Formula that now requires a lot more off track aero analysis. They have struggled over the last few years to correlate the data coming from their CFD, Simulators and Wind Tunnel(s) with the real world parts on the cars. A return to in season testing gives them the opportunity to see if/where the numbers stack up.

Mugello offered the opportunity for Ferrari to assess the data in a real world scenario, they took the first 2 days to put some mileage on the car with both Fernando and Felipe using mainly the specification used in the previous races. This gives the team a baseline of data to work from and allows them to better understand the upgrades added on the 3rd and final day of testing.

Ferrari's early season woes have been attributed to many things but their biggest problems have been too much drag, lack of rear downforce and general aero inefficiencies. With this seasons exhaust position/angle rule changes it is more important than ever to focus aero attention in the exhuast region. This is because the exhausted air has the best chance of increasing rear end downforce as unlike the air that passes over the car it is accelerated. Ferrari's design ethos has centered around them enclosing the exhaust within the sidepod tube to try to engage the airflow through the sidepods and converge both flows into a higher density flow. This is known around the F1 paddock as their 'Acer Duct' as the duct carries the technology companies logo. (I will refer to it hear-on as that) 

Moving to the front of the sidepod's Ferrari along with most the other teams have adopted slanted radiator designs that slope rearwards (from the top) over the past few years. The reasoning for this approach is it not only reduces the CoG but affects how slim you can make the sidepod vs how much additional cooling space you can make. It does however mean you would have to also reprofile the radiator fin angle in order to get maximum cooling over the surface area. However the team have this year decided to go back to a vertical radiator (as have Sauber who also run the Ferrari V8) perhaps with an eye on more cooling efficiency but also to make use of the aforementioned Acer Ducts. The exhaust will act on the airflow coming through the sidepod entry pulling the airflow through the radiator and onward towards the outlet. The team may have made the switch back to a vertical radiator in an effort to keep this flow uniform whereas the other teams direct their airflow aft of the radiators inbound toward the engine covers cooling exit. To further confirm this theory Sauber's version of the Acer duct is a little higher on the engine cover exiting around the suspension. The idea is that the exhaust pulls the air through the radiator much the same as a fan on a regular road car works (Remember no fans in an F1 car)

So why go to all this effort I hear you say. Well the original Ferrari design ethos was trying to pull as much air as possible over the rear floor in order to seal the diffuser. I'll try to explain Diffuser Sealing better as it's something that's mentioned regularly in F1 circles in a way that in assumed people understand what it is.
The diffuser is one of the most important elements to creating downforce on the car, as air flows under the car the diffuser rises and creates more surface area. Air will always move to an area of lower pressure and as it does so it speeds up, as the area in the diffuser fills more space is available underneath and so the process continues. The faster you can get this pressure moving the better. Above the diffuser area on the car's floor is just as important as you want to create high pressure in this region as it will help speed up the flow beneath. In 2010 we had exhaust blow diffusers which were strategically placed on the floor of the car to speed up flow on the floor creating more downforce. The term sealing the diffuser is creating downforce in the region above the diffuser in order to mirror the flow beneath thus 'sealing' the outer extremities or footprint of the Diffuser. The available area of the diffuser can be altered in order to create this sealing effect but obviously the bigger the diffuser you can utilise and seal the more rear end downforce you can generate. Making exhaust gas manipulation imperative to the amount of rear downforce you can generate.

This years regulations means that we have a return to periscope exhausts and thus the teams have a hard time making the exhaust interact with the floor to generate downforce. McLaren's design is at the forefront as it utilises the 'Coanda Effect' to keep airflow attached from the top of the sidepods and from around the sidepods and bending it down onto the floor area. Ferrari's original design attempted to do so too but the lack of exhaust effect on the sidepod flow means the air detaches and doesn't follow the contours of the sidepod under the Acer duct.

The Mugello spec exhaust is designed to keep the airflow attached from over the sidepod and then interact with the radiator exit (which has been narrowed) pulling the airflow down over a more central section of the sidepod. The new Acer Duct / Exhaust configuration should be more beneficial than the original iteration as the Acer duct is shorter and should help pull some of the air around from the side of the sidepod under the Acer Duct. We may see Ferrari play with other exhaust positions more tilted towards the side of the Acer Duct in order to promote that flow.

In my opinion Ferrari may be better placed to reshape the radiator exits to where Sauber have theirs leaving a more open ended solution available for the exhaust outlet.

The new engine cover features a bulbous section just ahead of the shark fin which looks to me like it may have something to do with the the tubing that comes out of the airbox outlet and runs into the crash structure. I need some more pictures to confirm but I imagine the tube blows under the re-profiled/lifted/cupped section in the centre of the beam wing.



The new rear wing endplates have an extra louvre at the front edge and their profile has been flattened whereas the old louvres curved downward. The endplate strakes have increased from 2 to 4 and increase in size as they come away from the main endplate.

In line with adjusting the rear end airflow ethos they have also altered the brake cooling ducts to better direct the flow created by the new solution

You will also note from the picture above that Ferrari have some cutouts in the lower cooling outlet which will interact with the the airflow and energize the flow inbound.

In summary I believe this iteration will give Ferrari a much needed jump in performance and a better base to move forward in terms of development.

Photos Copyright Sutton Images / AMuS
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2 May 2012
Mugello Test Day 2 (2nd May) Analysis

With most of the afternoon session from yesterday lost due to rain the teams may have adjusted their programmes slightly to evaluate their updates.  From the outset it would appear that the consensus is that McLaren have found the best exhaust solution with others now adopting the same ethos.  Even Sauber that has been praised for their early design efforts are assessing the merits of the McLaren style solution.


McLaren haven't got a raft of updates to test at Mugello but it seems they are keen to find out just how much the centre section of their front wing is flexing using sensors mounted on the nose, wing and wing pylons.

Force India

Force India are the latest team to subscribe to the McLaren style exhaust solution with an almost carbon copy of the McLaren version.


Mercedes have run a front wing today that features new Wing Pylons, these pylons resemble the ones used on the McLaren with the pylon extending outwards at the bottom compared to their old design which are much narrower.  You will also note I have circled in blue where Mercedes are using an asymetric design on the endplates.

It would also appear that Mercedes are trying things out without Super DRS, this rear wing is missing the channels along the outer edge required to flow the air toward the slot


Since the teams inception it has been their desire to step up into the midfield battle this usually requires something innovative or simply a re hash of someone else's design.  Caterham's latest atempt at this jump comes courtesy of a mish mash of both the McLaren and Mercedes style exhaust outlets with the continuation of the sidepod bodywork towards the rear of the car in a Sauber / Red Bull style but with a deep cut out of the bodywork like McLaren's.  Their solution is like a dog-leg and should provide coanda effect on both the downwash and attract flow around the sidepod.  It also has a much larger intepretation of the Red Bull V2 tunnel sacrificing floor space coming out of the ramp for more flow into the tunnel.  It is rather a crude interpretation born out of trying not to take away too much bodywork (I'd imagine due to the constraints of designing a new exhaust system too), so I wait to see the results.

It would seem that most of the teams are saving the best til last and we will see a plethora of new bits added to the cars tomorrow.  I'm especially looking out for Ferrari who still apparently have a number of updates to evaluate.
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Mugello Test Day 1 (1st May) Analysis

Yesterday marked the return of in season testing, unfortunately running was limited in the afternoon due to Mugello receiving extended rainfall.  It still gave us chance to see some of the updates the teams are working on.  The teams go out with a baseline spec car initially in order to get data to correlate the results with the new parts.


Ferrari are the team that most people have eyes on in Mugello, with them bringing parts to assess the faults of the F2012 and with an eye on a potential F2012B being used in Barcelona.  Ferrari decided to do all of it's morning running on a baseline setup and so when the rain came it stunted the chances of us seeing a big overhaul of upgrades.   You will note however they are using a piece of bodywork below the exhaust that now droops away encouraging the flow to move downward quicker (Mugello top, Bahrain Below)


McLaren are another team that have concentrated yesterdays test time on a baseline setup, you can see from the amount of sensors on the nosecone in the picture below though they are interested in what's happening in and around the centre of the wing and the wing pylons.

Red Bull

Mark Webber hailed this test as a pivotal moment for RBR as it could help to decide the course of the championship moving into the European section of the season.  Again they were using the Sauber-esque ramp exhaust system for testing they used in Bahrain and seem to be concentrating their efforts on getting data from this area (as seen in the picture below)


Revised Sauber Front Wing (Bahrain Spec Below) 

Sauber's exhaust solution has been hailed as one of the field leaders but that hasn't stopped them looking at the McLaren style exhaust which works better at encouraging flow from the downwash and from around the sidepod into the diffuser area via the Coanda effect.

Sauber Exhaust (Mugello Top, Bahrain Below)

Sidepod Top Flow Conditioners

Since the start of the season the C31 has been sporting some flow conditioners above the Sidepod entry's in order to help with the downwash effect.  They have brought a new variant to Mugello to test, in the top picture you can see the new style which bends down over the side of the sidepod where in the bottom picture the original conditioner extends all the way over to the outbound vertical flow conditioner


The Williams exhaust interpretation has evolved from the first races into an version that has an abruptly ending sidepod. In Mugello the team has reverted to testing a McLaren style outlet to encourage flow from above and the side

Williams FW34 Exhaust (Mugello Top, Bahrain Middle, Melboure bottom)

I love the picture above as it shows how the teams have to twist their exhausts forward before exiting rearward for these sidepod solutions.

Force India

Force India have been playing around with different front wings over the last few races having a few designs. One design has their cameras mounted on the very tip of the nose the other has them placed at the rear end of the nosecone in the suspension airflow area.  They were testing with the latter yesterday (top) although in Bahrain they were using the the other design (bottom)


A new variant of the front wing was tested (very minor alterations to the original) However notice on the trailing edge of the rear wing flaps they are using gurneys to load the top edges of the wing (Blue Rings) the additional section has been highlighted with a red ring.  (Mugello top, Bahrain below)

Lotus E20

I'm not even going to look into which version of Front Wing Lotus are using at Mugello as it seems they already had a never ending stream of them available.  They have however been looking into a more refined version of the exhaust position / enclosure (Mugello top, Bahrain below)

All pictures are copyright / Sutton Images
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