Like any other race season keeping the updates flowing is vital for success of the team. This season more then another who’s just how important updates are. This season the teams are working really had to get around the many changes in the regulations which took place after the blow exhaust diffusers dominated the 2011 season. Working the body to reduce drag, getting air to flow into the diffusers and getting the most out of the DRS zones are the goals that all the teams are trying to achieve.
This season started with the McLaren car looking the strongest of the pack, but this changed fast. With the other cars developing much faster then the McLaren was developing the gap they held quickly disappeared. It really showed in silver stone that their car was not able to keep up with the front runners. Hamilton qualified only 8th finished in the same place, and his teammate who is having a difficult season was only able to irk his way up from the back of the pack to 10th. Both cars in the points but no where close to where we expected them to be looking at the pace at the beginning of the season.
One of teams that we expected to be struggling with pace this season was Ferrari. The first race of the season was very disappointing, they struggled its pace and did poorly in qualifying. But this quickly charged. The team was able to work the car well improving the poor rear grip issues and make the car much more manageable for Alonso, his teammate Massa still struggled but recently he’s showing much better pace and seems to have the car finally working for him. Consistent improvements are what will win this season.
One of the teams that have shown great ideas for improving their cars is red bull. They have put forward great ideas in trying to make a better car. Unfortunately some of the upgrades they used were deemed illegal. Things like holes in the floor and the holes in the wheel hubs. But this hasn’t stopped their chase for upgrades. They’re had a great package at Valencia. The package was so good, it helped Vettel gain a 20 second lead in under 15 laps(it may have been about ten or eleven in reality), and helped Mark Webber who was struck with DRS problems got from nineteenth to fourth. The package also helped them keep pace in silver stone, which allowed Webber to take the win and Sebastian took 3rd the teams first double podium of the season.
One thing that I have noticed when teams are trying updates for their cars is that they tend to favour their number one driver. This was very noticeable during the 2010 BritishGP, when red bull took the new wing off Mark Webber’s car after his team mate broke his own. During the practices of the GermanGP this year we saw Kimi’s car having a bunch of upgrades which were not seen on Grosjean’s. This is not alway the case where one driver is favoured. On many occasions the upgrades will be handed out evenly if they are sure that they will bring better performance.
There is logic behind handing out upgrades to be driver at a time. The logic behind it would be that they have a timing comparison. This is very important to see how much improvement is bring gained. Not to mention the amounts if sensors which are attached to the cars can pull up much more data from the practice runs. Running two different setups allow for a greater range if strategies that can be applied during the race.
I started this post before the GermanGP but got distracted and was usable to finish it until after, so I’ll mention some of the things which the GermanGP and this post have in common. The McLaren team produced a slew of upgrades for their car this week, and WOW did they change the pace of their car. They had a strong podium finish with button, who seemed to be struggling for most of the season. We’re going to see McLaren a lot more in the front no because of these upgrades. Then we have red bull, again using a controversial upgrade. This was due to engine mapping and how much exhaust was being used in the diffuser while off the throttle(I think). After the stewards looked and scrutinised their upgrade they decided that they would not take any action against the team, although they said they did not believe all the arguments that red bull racing put forward. Adrian Newey is great with pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and playing with the rules.
Image from http://www.inautonews.com/fernando-alonso-wins-german-gp and many reading from skysportsf1 and BBC coverage of many f1 events and of course like all news sources reddit/r/formula1