As the current season nears its conclusion this weekend and with most of the battles in the Standings are already settled, several teams seize the opportunity in Abu Dhabi to carry out experimental work aimed for their 2020 cars.
Test session for Ferrari
Ferrari has trialled a modified wastegate design during Friday practice sessions. The Italian squad was the only manufacturer this year to use a single wastegate in 2019 as the three other engine-suppliers Mercedes, Renault and Honda all opted for a split, twin-arrangement.
The Maranello-based team also used a split design in 2018 before it switched to a single wastegate with a larger diameter. The test item features two wastegate pipes sitting significantly above the main exhaust pipe indicating that the team wants to channel the excess gases at the underside of the rear wing to increase downforce. Furthermore, the use of a split design can also accelerate the airflow passing out of the system.
Despite to the flirtation with the new instalment, Ferrari is set to return to the usual wastegate design for the remainder of the weekend.
Bottas reprimanded for clash with Grosjean
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has been hit with a reprimand for causing a collision with Romain Grosjean. The pair came together at the end of the second free practice session while conducting race simulations. The Finn tried to overtake the Frenchman at Turn 11 assuming that the Haas driver was giving him space for the manoeuvre. However, Grosjean appeared not to see the Mercedes and turned in, the pair collided, causing extensive damage for both the Mercedes and the Haas cars.
Although initially both drivers blamed each other for the clash, Bottas acknowledged later that it was a failed attempt at an overtake when the pair discussed the matter with the Stewards. The Finn was given a reprimand for the incident that was his first this season.
Bottas to start the race from the back
Following his engine woes during the Brazilian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas was given a fresh set of power unit components for this weekend’s season finale. The fresh units include a new internal combustion engine, a new turbocharger and a new motor generator unit – heat. As only three units of those components are permitted for this season and all these fresh parts are the fourth ones for Bottas, the Finn is required to start the race from the back of the grid.
The new ICE is Mercedes’ spec-4 unit that incorporates 2020 parts, enabling the Anglo-German team to carry out on-track test with its power unit aimed for the next season.
Three drivers started the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend with a fresh gearbox. Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Räikkönen and Toro Rosso racer Daniil Kvyat used their previous gearbox for six consecutive events which permitted a penalty-free change for a new unit.
A fresh gearbox was installed to the car of Sebastian Vettel for this weekend, but the German escaped a grid-drop penalty because he failed to finish the previous grand prix at Sao Paulo. His teammate Chalerc Leclerc also retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix, but Ferrari has not announced yet any intention to change his gearbox.