The Flying Lap Webcast: Mugello Test Review

I joined Peter windsor via phone to review the changes to the cars at the end of the second day of testing.  My section commences at 49 minutes, although I suggest you enjoy watching the entire episode.


As Formula 1 runs its first in-season test in the Pirelli era, we are delighted to be joined live on-line by Paul Hembery, Director of Motorsport for Pirelli. No stranger to The Flying Lap – or to New Media – Paul is respected up and down the pit lane not only for his knowledge and managerial skill but also for his obvious passion for the sport. We’ll be talking to Paul about the season so far and about one of the key characteristics of the first four races – the relatively small “operating window” of the Pirelli compound combinations; and we’ll be looking at all the latest trends from the Mugello test, where most of the F1 teams and top drivers are running. We also spoke to Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg shortly before he left home for Day Three in Mugello. Nico reflects on his first four races with the team, the current standing of the VJM05-Mercedes and his prospects in the upcoming Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix. Our third guest, also joining us on-line, is Davide Valsecchi, the talented young Italian driver who has just made history by winning three GP2 races in a row.

3 thoughts on “The Flying Lap Webcast: Mugello Test Review

  1. OnTopic: Always cool to see someone so passionate for the sport on such an important position

    OffTopic: The german auto und motor sport magazine report about McLaren having an innovative brake system that can influence the tyre temperature during the race (e.g. they can control the amount of temperature given to the tyres so it’s easier to make sure the tyres are in the correct temperature window). Have you heard anything about it?

    • I tweeted about the McLaren brake story last month. I tipped off AMuS who in return shared some pictures of the brakes from previous races\test with me. I haven’t got around to blogging this news, with the Mugello test and other commitments. I will change this comment into a blog post before the Spanish GP weekend

      Basically the brake disc vents its heat through openings in the outside of the brake drum. with McLarens brakes this year the
      duct and wheel spoke arrangement have been altered. the brake disc face has a blanking pate over it, this creates a passage way from the drilling in the perimeter of the disc out through the smaller drillings in the outer face of the new-for-2012 wheel. Normally teams tune the brake cooling via the inlet, taping it it over or changing to a smaller scoop. with the McLaren system the inlet duct remains the same, but bake cooling is tuned via a threaded adjuster moving the duct top open or close the openings in the brake drum. this is analogous to the cars engine cooling, the inlet tends to remain the same and the outlet area is tuned for optimum cooling. a larger than required duct will create extra drag, but I suspect the operating window the adjustable duct is within quite a small range. probably smaller range than switching to the next size brake duct inlet.
      I have seen these fitted to the rear brakes in Bahrain, but they’ve reportedly been on the car since China and F1 insiders tell me they were used even last year. I’m also told the front brakes are adjustable too, but I’ve seen no evidence for this. One thing is clear, these are quoted as secret devices, but most rival F1 engineers know about them!
      I understand the brake ducts can be adjusted from a single point near the fuel filler flap, so I presume cables run from the threaded adjuster back to the middle of the car. At a pitstop the mechanic can adjust the brakes with a tool accordingly. As the adjustment is done via a mechanic it is a legal change to set up, allowed once the race starts, but not during qualifying or whilst the car is in Parc Fermé. When the car is stationery at a pitstop, the system is not considered moveable aero.

      Changing the brake ducting will alter the amount of brake cooling, opening the duct will allow more heat to escape and reduce brake disc temperatures and vice versa with closing the ducts. Adjusting the rear brake temperature may be the sole reason for this season. with changing tyre balance and KERS usage the rear brakes have been prone to overheating. But the more likely benefit is the effect of the brake heat altering tyre temperature. As the brake heat passes through the smaller set of drillings in the wheel, this has a greater surface area than the more usual 8-10 spoke wheel, this allows more heat to transfer into the wheel. Heating the wheel will transfer heat into the tyre, this will be useful when the driver is struggling for tyre temperature. The contrary is reducing the heat transfer into the wheel to reduce tyre temperature when the driver is struggling with heat related degradation.

      Of other teams are able with their current wheel and duct arrangement to alter tyre temperatures via heat radiated from the brakes, then this will be an easy modification to make to the car. however many other F1 Engineers suggest that they find little effect of brake temperatures altering tyre temperature, making the solution unattractive to them.

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