Mercedes with a late development push – Technical news

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Japan, Circuit Suzukajp

The 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship is slowly nearing its end, but the development race is still raging between the teams. The Mercedes outfit left its rivals Ferrari and Red Bull shocked when its revealed its latest and possibly last upgrades for the season.

New aerodynamic parts

The dominant team of recent years, Mercedes last introduced a major upgrade package at its home grand prix at Hockenheim. As that excessive development package required some fine-tuning, the outfit did not bring any new parts in the following events. The team also switched its focus on the development of its 2020 car, although Ferrari’s recent form forced the German team to work on upgrades for the closing stages of the 2019 World Championship.

The set of new parts included a revised front wing endplate which the engineers intend to direct airflows around the front tyres more effectively with. The main element of the package was the revised deflector assembly which is mounted alongside the sidepods. The new Venetian blind-style deflector array now features five shorter elements instead of four elongated ones.

Smaller upgrades

Next to Mercedes’ excessive upgrade package, several other competitors have brought new parts to Japan. Red Bull introduced a new, smaller, upper outlet panel for its ‘S’-duct solution in Japan. Renault has also brought an important development to the Far East in form of a new front wing. The revised wing features a new curved section on the upper part of the mainplane while the first flap has also been reprofiled. Both of them now feature elongated cut-outs, producing vortices.

A bit too quick

Sergio Perez was given a fine of EUR300 for driving too fast in the pit lane on Friday. Driving at a speed of 82.2km/h instead of adhering to the limit of 80km/h, the Guadalajara-born driver exceeded the pit lane speed limit at 14:50 local time.

Fresh gearbox units

Six drivers have started the Japanese Grand Prix weekend with a fresh gearbox. Romain Grosjean used his previous unit for six consecutive weekends what permitted the Frenchman a penalty-free change for the Suzuka race. Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and George Russell failed to see the chequered flag at the previous race meeting in Russia what also allows a change to a fresh gearbox without any consequences. A new gearbox was installed in to Alexander Albon’s RB15 after his previous unit was replaced for a spare one in Sochi.

Special grid order

As weather conditions forced the FIA to cancel all track running on Saturday, the qualifying and the race will now take place on Sunday. Typhoon Hagibis is expected the leave the region for Sunday morning, but should the conditions be inappropriate for the time of the rescheduled qualifying session, the stewards defined the way the starting order would be set for the 53-lap Japanese Grand Prix. As the Sporting Regulations are silent on this subject, stewards could exercise their authority under Article 11.9.3.b of the International Sporting Code. As a result of the stewards’ decision, the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix will be established based on the Second Practice Session Classification, with any penalties applied as necessary