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22 September 2014
Bite Size Tech: Red Bull RB10 changes for Singapore

Having come off the back of what Red Bull would consider two very low downforce circuits the team arrived in Singapore, in familiar territory, looking to capitalise on their strengths, with the RB10 still regarded as the best chassis in the field.

Having used extremely skinny rear wings for both Spa and Monza the team returned to a similar specification last used in Hungary, with a high angle of attack also warranting their upper Y100 winglet / Monkey Seat.
At the front of the car the team made further changes to the RB10's nose, increasing the depth of the 'pelican' underbelly (see green line added in the inset).  The pelican had been deleted for the last few races as at higher speeds it overwhelms the region, stagnating flow and causing too much detachment.  At lower speed/high downforce circuits the 'pelican' actually speeds up the airflow as it creates its own low pressure region in behind the region, whilst keeping flow attached to the underside of the nose is critical to the noses upper surface too, owing to their use of a 'S' duct (below).
The heat in Singapore can also play havoc with the powerunits performance and so Red Bull ran with a revised cooling gill arrangement on the top of their right hand side pods.  The chevron shaped gills will of course release airflow in a different manner to their straight edged counterparts and so clearly Red Bull have found an advantage from doing so  (Likely that their shaping energizes the slower moving hot airflow).

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21 September 2014
20 September 2014
Bite Size Tech: Mercedes WO5 gear ratio change - Singapore

If you've been hiding under a rock this season you won't have realised that Mercedes have barely used their 8th gear.  Unlike previous seasons the 2014 regulations only permit ratio's to be changed once in a season (a joker as we refer to it) in order to save costs.  Mercedes were the only team to run an exceptionally long 8th gear, meaning that their drivers rarely used 8th, and in all honesty its effectiveness would be stifled by a large power drop off when it was used anyway.  The idea of course was to spread the immense torque generated by the 2014 powerunits, reducing the chance of wheelspin whilst retaining the optimum gears througout the corners.

In the last few races other teams have played their own jokers, having had time to maximise the powerunit to their chassis package, and in keeping with the circuit characteristics remaining this season.  With this in mind both Mercedes drivers played their joker this weekend in Singapore (below an excerpt from document no4) to bring them inline with their rivals, whilst looking to improve their own performance.
Furthermore in the document we can see that the team broke the seal on the powerunit to replace the driveline for the MGU-K.  This is not particularly newsworthy as teams do this from time to time (all Mercedes powered cars did so in Singapore) but I'd suggest the change in the works teams case was made inline with their gear ratio change.  The reason being is that the MGU-K is geared, allowing for a smaller more efficient unit, changes in the gear ratios however will also mean that the MGU-K will be harvesting and dispensing energy at different rates than usual.  Mercedes AMG HPP therefore may have been working with the team on this change and decided to beef something up for reliabilty whilst playing their joker, but also offer the new solution to their customers too.
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Bite Size Tech: Williams FW36 - Front & rear brake ducts - Singapore

Williams have been quietly going about their business this season, the FW36 not smattered with updates at every GP as an attempt to increase performance.  I'd like to classify their development as economic, finding performance from their base setup at each GP, whilst smaller updates bridge the gap.  The team arrived in Singapore knowing that teams like Red Bull would take a demonstrable leap ahead of them owing to their more downforce laden chassis.  Finding performance therefore for Williams has come from the team trying different approaches with their brake ducts, which of course will not only affect temperatures directly but also change how the tyre phases on longer stints.
At the front of the car the team arrived with an enclosed caketin arrangement (above), whereas the team have run with an open arrangement prior to this (below), with just a crossover duct moving airflow from the scoop and blowing it out through the wheel. 

The new configuration is looking to retain more temperature for use by the brakes, whilst lowering the core temperature of the tyre.
At the rear of the car the caketin remains largely untouched but the team reverted/trialled a solution used earlier in the season with a duct (above, image AMuS) replaced by an airflow control winglet (below, image AMuS). 
This would reduce the amount of cooling done within the caketin, raising the core temperature of the tyre, in an attempt to leverage more mechanical performance from the tyre.  The problem with this however is that it will also raise the degradation level of the tyre on a longer stint.

As with all decisions of this nature it's a performance trade off and something that can also suit one driver more than the other.  Meanwhile the lap time delta between the two compounds taken to Singapore is larger than anticipated and so decisions of this nature then become even more critical for race pace.
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Bite Size Tech: McLaren MP4-29 Y100 ladder winglet change - Singapore

In a outwardly minor alteration in Singapore, McLaren have adjusted the ladder winglets that sit astride the rear crash structure (above).  Responsible for upwashing the airflow in the region and creating a centralized connection between the diffuser, exhaust, main Y100 winglet (Monkey Seat) and rear wing any changes clearly has impact on several flow structures.  We must therefore bear in mind that the team return to the use of both wishbone wings for Singapore, having just used the lower ones at the last few races; whilst they changed the central portion of the diffuser in Spa.
As we can see from their previous Y100 ladder winglet (above) the upper section is designed very differently, not only do we now find an extra section at it's base with which to release airflow, we also see the zircotec painted (silver tips) have been removed.  This will clearly have an impact on the trajectory of the exhaust plume, with it most likely having a more spanwise effect on the upper wing surfaces.

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