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Marussia: Exhaust/Sidepod Development

Marussia have not introduced any large upgrades so far this season. In season development being just small iterations of front wing and cascade design. For Silverstone the team have produced what Team Principal John booth called “our first proper wind-tunnel generated upgrade”. This being a reference to the new Technical team’s focus away from CFD only development. Booth also identified the upgrades as consisting of “new rear wing, exhausts, floor and side pods”.
This package was fitted to the car for the ill fated Duxford test last week. It has reappeared at Silverstone for the GP and its clear the sidepods are step away from the launch specification exhaust set up. Where as the car has raced with top exit exhausts, exiting through the rear suspension so far this year, the new sidepod moves towards Saubers early season design. The exhaust tail pipes are now moved towards the outer edge of the sidepod and exit through a small down swept duct. The sidepod bodywork then forms a ramp for the exhaust plume to follow down to the diffusers footplate. This set up worked well for Sauber earlier on this season, before they followed McLarens path, with an exhaust exiting through a bulged pod in the side of the car.

The exhaust plume follows the ramped sidepod towards the diffuser’s edge

Having a blown effect at the diffuser means Marussia should be able to extract more downforce from the car. Both from the extra mass flow through the diffuser and the sealing effect of the exhaust plume allowing greater rake to be set up on the car. This development is long overdue, with the fight with Caterham now being made more difficult, as they have also introduced an exhaust blown diffuser set up this weekend.

Footnote: My thoughts are with Maria de Villota, her Family and the Marussia team after the dreadful events earlier this week.

McLaren: Adjustable Front Brake Ducts

This year McLaren have had the option to alter rear brake cooling during the pit stops in a race. As a result they can vary brake temperatures and potentially alter tyre temperature slightly. This latter effect being possible from the heat conducting from the red hot brake discs through the wheel and into the tyre. This system has been used at various races and each driver appears to have preference when to use it. This system has been especially useful this year, as the tyres dropping below their operating temperature window will see grip their levels fall dramatically. At the British GP one of the mechanical updates McLaren have brought, is the front brakes now also have this adjustability.

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F1 Jack Technology

For years the F1 quick lift jack was a simple humble tool used around the garage and at pit stops. Since pit stops have become an ever greater part of the team’s performance during the race, the jack has come in for increasing levels of development. As powered jacks are no longer allowed, teams rely on a hefty pull from a mechanic to lift the car and gravity to return the car to the ground. Improving this process has lead to most teams adopting a similar quick-release swivel jack. At first a complicated looking piece of kit, the jack is still a simple device when reduced to its component parts.

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Red Bull: Ducted Sidepod and Blown Starter Hole

Red Bull have raced two major iterations of sidepod and exhaust this season, at Valencia they introduced their third. This iteration brought the re-introduction of the bridge\tunnel concept first used with their V2 sidepod. These sidepods not only sport a single tunnel, but the inlet is split to feed two different flows inside the bodywork. Initially mistaken as a double floor or double diffuser, This V3 sidepod sees a return to the duct blown starter motor hole raced in 2011.

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InDetail: Caterham CT01

Caterham have been slowly working their way clear of Marussia and HRT to close-in on Q2 sessions and the Toro Rosso’s in the race. This year the CT-01 is a clean sheet design and exploits a Renault engine with a Red Bull gearbox and KERS.

I’ve been lucky to have been given permission from Ionut Pascut to post these detail pictures taken at Monaco, to allow us to look at the detail of the 2012 Caterham.

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InDetail: Williams FW34

Williams have enjoyed a resurgence this year, with new management, a revised car which now sports a Renault engine and competitive drivers. The FW34 won a race on merit in Spain, with Barcelona being a track well known to be tough on tyres and demanding on aerodynamic efficiency.
I’ve been lucky to have been given permission from Ionut Pascut to post these detailed pictures taken at Monaco, to allow us to take close look at the 2012 Williams.

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Renault: European GP Alternator Failures

At the European GP in Valencia we saw the unusual circumstance of two ‘leading’ cars both retire within a few laps of each with a related fault. It was confirmed by Renault that there were alternator failures on the Renault Engines of Vettel’s Red Bull and Grosjean’s Lotus. Typically the alternator in a Modern F1 car is unseen and causes almost no issues, so this is an opportunity to look at this component and the failures in Valencia.

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