Formula One car development blog

McLaren adopts bridged sidepod panel

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McLaren have pinpointed their problems of 2013 to a problematic correlation of wind tunnel data and struggling to get a persistent airflow around the Pirelli tyres, which are now flexing differently than last year. Jonathan Neale even likened their problems to those at Ferrari last year, saying the Scuderia people will surely know how it feel to be in the position McLaren is currently in.

As a first step to resolve some car problems, the team introduced a modified sidepod panel that... Read more

Caterham gets front end overhaul

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Caterham have introduced the second part of their major upgrade package for the CT03 which should help the team get ahead of Marussia again. Part of the update package was moved forward and introduced on Charles Pic's car in Bahrain, including the bulge under the nose, revised rear wing endplates and the new sidepod panels.

This time around, the focus was mainly on the front end, with a raft of updates aimed to help increase front downforce. The most obvious change of course is the ... Read more

Red Bull use McLaren alternator on RB9

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After rumours emerged in the Italian press about RBR's alternator, Renault Sport have now confirmed to F1Technical that Red Bull Racing is indeed using a McLaren Electronic System alternator in combination with the Renault engine. The firm notes this is the case "for some time now", with all other Renault powered teams still using the Magnetti Marelli alternators, similar to last year.

Renault's technical director, Rob White, says this is the result of the problems during 2012: "We ... Read more

Modified sidepods on Ferrari F138

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Despite only having a 7 day gap since the Chinese GP, Ferrari have brought another update to their F138. The team fitted new sidepod panels on both their cars during the entire weekend, increasing the volume of the sidepod around the UPS logo. The difference is clearly visible when you focus on the joint of the foremost panel - with the Shell logo - that was unchanged and the new panel with UPS on it.

The previous design had fairly visible downward ducts, still somewhat similar to t... Read more

Caterham brings first updates to CT03

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Caterham F1 have brought the first updates to their CT03 since the beginning of the season. The team urged a few updates as soon as it appeared that there were considerably issues with the car that would make it unable to put up a fight to any other team. The updates seem to have had an immediate effect, with Charles Pic saying after free practice that the team were to adjust the car set-up as the updates immediately brought in understeer thanks to increased downforce at the rear of... Read more

New lower downforce beam wing on RB9

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Red Bull introduced a new beam wing on its RB9 this weekend at Bahrain. The new version will generate a little bit less downforce than the more conventional one used during the first 3 races of the season. Although a smaller beam wing it itself is nothing special, the roundings on the trailing edge of the wing are interesting indeed. The element is aimed at generating more downforce close to the centreline of the car while the reduced frontal area will cause less drag and downforce ... Read more

Red Bull test front wheel axle blowing

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Red Bull Racing have copied Williams' hollow front wheel axle and wheelnut to allow air to pass through. Identical to the Williams version that was used since winter testing, the wheel nut is empty in the middle, which allows air caught by the brake ducts to flow out in an attempt to control the front wheel's wake. The latter is an important factor for rear downforce and also explains why teams are not using a similar system on the rear wheels, where it is more beneficial to have sm... Read more

Mercedes tweaks front wing

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Already since the Chinese GP of last week, Mercedes are running a slightly different front wing which includes a tiny lip on top of the stacked element support.

Also marked in the image are some interesting details which show how much attention Mercedes have put into this new front wing after basically struggling with that part of the car for several years. The support for the stacked element for instance is not as simple at it may initially appear as it is clearly shaped differentl... Read more

Lotus to update suspension to control ride height

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Lotus Technical Director James Allison has revealed that the team will introduce a new element in the front suspension that is mainly aimed at better controlling the ride height at the front of the car: "We will trial a suspension modification – internal rather than to the wishbones – which is an evolution of something we ran to good effect during pre-season."

Allison does not reveal what exactly will be tried, but his further comments claar up a few things: "You’re always trying to... Read more

McLaren follows Mercedes sidepod trend

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McLaren has introduced a modified sidepod bodywork design that features a bump on top of the sidepod. In fact it looks like the fat lady sat atop of the sidepod, creating this new version. The idea is to draw a little bit more air down onto the exhaust more rapidly, helping the curving down of the exhaust gases aft of the exhaust channel. The difference of course is clear because of McLaren opting to paint less of the car's bodywork in silver.

The design is not new at all and follow... Read more