Ferrari introduces new front wing – Technical news from the Austrian Grand Prix

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Just a few days have passed since the curtain fell on the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, but several teams have already brought updates to their car for the second round of the revised 2020 F1 season.

Mercedes introduces reliability fix Despite winning the season-opener at the Red Bull Ring in dominant form, Mercedes had a few technical problems to master last weekend. The W11’s gearbox on both cars developed electrical issues quite early on in the race which was exacerbated by the Red Bull Ring’s high kerbs.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were, therefore, asked to avoid the kerbs to lessen the load going through the gearboxes. For the second round of the championship, Mercedes has introduced counter-measures, bringing new looms for Austria that are set to solve the technical problems.

Trackside Engineering Director of Mercedes, Andrew Shovlin said that his team sacrificed the majority of Friday running from working on the reliability fixes and new parts that are set to make their debut at the high-downforce circuit of the Hungaroring.

"It's been a busy week in the factory trying to understand and produce a solution for the electrical issues we had throughout last weekend. New looms arrived in time for the car build on Wednesday and they ran successfully today.

„We'd like a bit more running before we conclude that it's resolved, but it certainly seems to have improved our situation. On today's programme, first practice was quite straightforward. We had a few test items on the car, along with some high-downforce parts in preparation for Budapest,” he said.

Ferrari with ’emergency’ updates

Following their dismal pre-season testing performance, Ferrari started to work on an extensive upgrade package that follows a different aerodynamic route compared to the one the team pursued during winter.

However, the alarm bells started to ring at the Scuderia after Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel only qualified seventh and eleventh for the season-opener. The team has, therefore, decided to fast track its upgrades and introduce some new parts for this weekend. A new front wing and a new floor have been tested on Friday with a new rear wing expected to make its debut at next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Reflecting on the new parts, Sebastian Vettel said that his car felt a lot different to its behavior during last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. "For us, the main thing was testing the upgrades that we brought. We put them on the car step by step and they seemed to work well. We still need to have a look and find the best window where the car is happiest.

Honda introduces power unit fix

Although Red Bull showed promising pace at the season-opener, both Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon were forced to retire from the race with relability issues. Chasing Valtteri Bottas in the second place, the Dutchman suddenly lost power on lap 11, forcing him to crawl lowly back to the pit. The Thai driver’s race ended in the closing stages after a clash with Lewis Hamilton, albeit his retirement was down to a technical gremlin.

Honda has carried out an investigation into the problems and found out that both race-ending issues were electrical. The Japanese engine-manufacturer’s technical director Toyoharu Tanabe has revealed that Honda has applied fixes for the problems for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.

"The problems on the two Aston Martin Red Bull Racing cars in the last race were both electrical, but caused by different issues,” said Honda Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe. “We have been analysing both these matters together with the teams and we have put countermeasures in place for this weekend.

“As our power units do not have any damage caused by those issues, Max and Alex will use their same PUs this weekend. We must aim to finish the race with all four cars and achieve a good result with them,” he added.

New Power Unit components

The Haas-Ferrari outfit installed a new energy store and a new control electronics unit into the car of Kevin Magnussen after the team detected technical issues following the season-opener. With the current schedule, drivers are allocated with two units of both the ES and CE, meaning the Danish driver will not receive a penalty for the early changes.

Alexander Albon will also complete the second round of the 2020 F1 season with a fresh control electronics.

George Russell took a fresh Mercedes power unit for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, after investigations revealed he had suffered a gear drive failure during the season-opener at the Red Bull Ring. The Briton received a fresh internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H unit for the second round of the season.

New gearboxes

Three drivers started the Styrian Grand Prix with a new gearbox with Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll getting a new unit. As they failed to see the chequered flag at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, the changes do not trigger a penalty.

A seal was broken on the gearbox of Lando Norris’ McLaren as the team wanted to inspect the 6th change gear ratio pair and the associated dog ring for physical damage. Although the Woking-based team changed the components, it was done in accordance with Article 23.5d of the 2020 Formula One Sporting Regulation.