Episode 025 – F1 Spanish GP & Technical Developments
In this episode we review the Spanish GP. Doesn’t take a lot of reviewing as it was boring as shit, luckily its been three weeks since the last race and it’s the first race in Europe, so there have been plenty of technical upgrades brought to this race and we delve head first into them to bring you up to date. Photos of the technical upgrades are included below. If you plan on listening on your iPod or in your car, download the pics to look at later or take a geezer at them now so you know what we’re banging on about when we discuss them at the end.
With a test in Barcelona following the GP, the development race is definitely full steam ahead. Unless you’re Renault, in which case there’s not much steam and you’re not going anywhere.
We also preview Monaco, talk about Williams financial position, Ferrari playing favourites, Cybil Hamilton brings both personalities to the race, and should Renault just start cheating? It’s all in this episode.
Credits for the photos go to Sutton Images and the excellent crew at F1technical.net forums. We’re not affiliated with these guys in any way, they’re just the best at what they do so go and check them out! Diagrams came from F1.com
Post Edit: News came out just after we wrapped up our podcast that Red Bull, or more specifically Helmut Marko, have said that if they can’t get a competitive engine or team up with Audi they will quit F1, which actually makes sense, but they’re contractually obliged to race until 2020, and also obliged to use Renault power until at least 2016. Contracts get about as much respect as Zimbabwe currency though, so don’t pay too much attention to those details. This is definitely some flexing and posturing from Red Bull, be interesting to see how this develops. Remember Piech just ‘resigned’ from VW, taking with him the company resentment toward Bernie Ecclestone and clearing the way for any VW subsidiary F1 entry, more than likely Audi or an outside chance of Porsche. One week back in Europe and it’s already all happening, so keep an eye on those developments.
Look at the front suspension set up and compare it to the aerial view of the Ferrari below. Clever designs to get an aero positive effect out of the suspension assembly or condition air for subsequent aero benefit. You can also see the vanes peeking out from under the rear of the front wing, conditioning the turbulent air.
Here you see what is referred to as the coke bottle, with the black part of the engine cover (just before the rear wing) being the neck just below the lid of a coke bottle, working towards the front of the car to create the shape.
For such a technically advanced sport, I love some of the literal naming of parts. First the coke bottle, and another example here, the little winglet above the exhaust is called a ‘monkey seat,’ because the initial version looked like a little seat that a monkey could sit on.
On second look, and from the closer reverse side pictured in figure 11, it seems these little conditioners aim to reduce some of the drag caused from the vortex off the front wing hitting the bottom edge/face of the side pod. It seems to split the flow, sending the top half into the side pod for cooling and through the strakes on top of the side pod, while the lower half is more gently conditioned to flow underneath and around the coke bottle. It may only make the car .05 seconds quicker per lap, but these are the margins that F1 cars work between. These all add up to a few seconds, which can determine victory or a point-less finish.
Some other alternate photos of cool things and developments:
Merc T tray and splitter. Splitter helps shape the vortex created by the front ring underneath the front bulk head and around to the side pods and coke bottle. It looks like there could be tunnels, and if not definitely vanes from either side of the T tray. You can see on the near side the floor of the T tray angles inwards towards the centre of the car, revealing a gap between the end plate and the T tray. The far side looks to confirm this with the bulge coming inwards from the end plate allowing a channel for air to flow through. On the above pic of the Mercedes floor we can’t see how these channels or tunnels are directed because an engineer greedily blocks it off, but it would be interesting to see where they feed to.
Look at the different front wing philosophy of James Allison, also gives you a good view of the avenues to direct air through the front wheels and suspension to hit the side pods. Big front brake ducts can also facilitate a ‘blown wheel nut’ where air is directed out through the wheel nut, helping ‘seal’ the car, trapping air escaping from underneath the floor as well as helping condition the vortex around and under the coke bottle.
Diagram comparing the new and old Red Bull front wing
Actual comparison of Red Bull old and new front wings