Tech-update from the American GP

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F1 Grand Prix, GP USA, Circuit of The Americasus

Teams have been working hard on their next year’s machineries as brand-new technical regulations are looming for 2017. However, it does not mean that they have completely abandoned this year’s development race.

That has two reasons. They carry out intense experiment work on next year’s solutions and development directions which they want to follow. On the other hand, some teams are adamant to keep on fighting in the war of the Constructors’ Championship because better positions mean higher income at the end of the season.

Williams is fighting with Force India for the fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. Despite to the fierce battle, the Grove-based squad is working on next year’s aerodynamical solutions. Next year’s aero regulation will free up the boundaries underneath the front of the car in some way. The engineers increased the number of vanes under the front wing planes from two to four. They are aimed to direct the air flow which flies from the front towards the space between the two front wheels.

Sauber had a tiny development step for Austin. The Hinwill-based squad had some excessive developments for last weekend’s Japanese GP, but it prepared a new part for the high-speed circuit of America, too. It introduced a Mercedes-inspired windscreen which has a serrated edge. The Anglo-German Team has been using it for quite a long time. The serrations has a positive effect on the airflow which meets the driver’s helmet.

McLaren Honda also carried out intensive work in its 2016 car during Friday’s outings. Jenson Button’s car was fitted with some extra sensors at the back. Those were aimed to give feedback about the rigidity of the tail-end of the car. The team has been struggling with the car’s performance in long, mid- to high-speed corners throughout the year which proved to be fatal in its home race in Japan. The team is, therefore, evaluating the possible solutions which could lead to aero stability around the back.

McLaren was also experimenting with a new front wing. The team is laying down the foundation for next year’s concept. 2017’ new regulation will bring new, wider tyres and front wings which makes the airflow towards the front tyres crucial. That urges the teams to find the direction to control the airflow around the outer section of the front wing in the best possible way. McLaren trialed a new front wing which had quite a flat main plane instead of having a footstep. The engineers also added new vertical fences underneath the main plane to work the airflow towards the section between the front wheels even harder.

Ferrari keeps on working on the section underneath the front of the car. The Italian team tested on Sebastian Vettel’s car a new T-tray winglet which had a completely new attachment point. Instead of connecting to car’s underside, it was attached to the T-tray. Heavy vibration meant that the new part flew off the car in the first practice session which curtailed Vettel’s running. The team, then, aborted the testing of the new element and reverted to the previous solution.