As one of the slowest circuits in formula one, and its promotional area it is located in, the Grand Prix of Hungary is one of the favorites of Mr. Ecclestone, and thus the circus was there again, leaving a lot of enthousiasts in the cold, as its races isn't known for its incredible take-overs. Qualifying was thereby extremely important.
The circuit requires lots of downforce, so you can guess we have seen some of the items from Monaco reintroduced to the circuit.
The mid-wing (small horizontal wing on top of the bonnet) has become a normal thing in Formula one during the last years. Teams experiment a lot, and some of them, like Jordan for instance, got them out of the box for the fifth time this season. Other teams have followed, like Williams. Ferrari and McLaren do not seem to need it, as they have never been seen on a circuit with a mid-wing. These actions only state my thoughts that Williams BMW has been suffering the whole season through with a lacking downforce. On the pictures below it might look like there are two wings, but don't get tricked by the camera. The upper thick small piece of carbon is the television camera, which must be always there following FIA regulations. The mid-wing concerns the other horizontal plate, which should generate quite a few downforce without having a lot of drag.
As I talked of this team, they are highly suspected to suffer a lack of downforce. Therefore, Patrick Head and his troups are working hard to solve this problem, and catch Ferrari as good as it gets to go for the title next year. They have fuzzled a lot at the rear end of their cars, and they certainly cannot catch the ferrari's in race conditions on the moderate and slow circuits. Williams depends a lot on their rear section, due to te high nose cone of the car. This makes a lot of air flow under the car onto the diffuser, possibly more than, but certainly not less than at Ferrari. At least that is how it should be to perform equally with Ferrari.
Below is a little study about the evolution of the exhausts on the BMW Williams. The first two pictures are from the past few races (you can see the image text by scrolling over the image). The first one is taken at the Nurburgring, where the exhausts looked like those of McLaren and most other teams, and very much in resemblance with last year's Ferrari. In Silverstone on the other hand (picture on the right), the Williams engineers have followed Ferrari's example and stripped the bonnet down, to allow more air to flow over the side pods to the rear wing. This caused the two humps in the end, right behind the exhausts, as these cover the highest located parts of the rear suspension. The exhausts are also not equally leveled to the car's "skin", but stick out a little bit.
The next two pictures are both from the Hungaroring. As you can see, once more some changes have been made. The left picture is the race configuration, the right was only testen during Friday's practise session (excuse me for the poor quality of the second picture, but it is highly zoomed, as I was not able to get a better picture). First of all, you can see they are developing an exhaust system that is once again very similar to Ferrari, though this one looking like the F2002. You can thus say Williams is running behind a half season, the other teams even more. Secondly, after a precise look at these two pictures, and the one showing the flip up at the Nurburgring, the rear end of the side pods have also changed significantly, in particular the part above the flip up. As the accent in the Nurburgring was to narrow the underside to increase air flow to the diffuser, the upperside of the sidepods are now also a lot smaller, "pulling" more air to the centre of the car towards the rear wing.
Another small change, which is there since a few races, but which I like to point out, are the bars above the side pod's air inlet. These have been bent down a little, again to increase air flowing over the side pods towards the rear wing, instead of using it to cool down the engine.
Other (minor) novelties
- BAR dug his chimneys up again, as did Jaguar, to let the hot air flow out of the car as fast as possible. At circuits like these, engine cooling is quite important, and thus leaving the hot cooling air flow within the sidepod for a long time isn't a good idea. Ferrari also made little adjustments to get rid of the hot air as quickly as possible.
- Sauber has meanwhile closely watched the F2002, and are now swtiching to exhausts that look just the same. The exhaust pipes are made a little longer, topping above the side pod's top, now directing the air directly to the back, instead of pushing it out upwards. The pipes (one on each side of the car) are also covered by a black peace of carbon, exactly like at the Maranello squad. More teams will surely follow!