Part 6 of the Tech files is now available on GoCar.gr, covering the basics of the driver’s controls; the steering wheel, pedals and brake bias.
(This post will be updated over the GP weekend)
In contrast to the past few seasons, McLaren have had a quick car out of the box this year. Having this head start on pace has meant their in-season development has not been as acutely obvious as in previous years. Detail work around the nose and front wing have been one area of development, whereas the sidepods raced since Melbourne, have largely been the same set up used since the early testing spec sidepod was updated. One half of the update package was introduced at the British GP and now the second half with new sidepods has been brought to Germany.
For a few years now, teams have been extending the inner face of their brake ducts to reach forward towards the tyres forward edge. Up until recently teams placed the protruding vane as close to the tyre as possible, but latest solution offsets the vane from the tyres sidewall to allow airflow to pass in-between the tyre and vane. An inlet formed in the brake drum duct catches some of this air and redirects it towards the brakes for cooling. This year Williams went even further and removed the usual brake cooling scoop and have the brakes entirely cooled by an inlet between the tyre and vane.
Marussia have not introduced any large upgrades so far this season. In season development being just small iterations of front wing and cascade design. For Silverstone the team have produced what Team Principal John booth called “our first proper wind-tunnel generated upgrade”. This being a reference to the new Technical team’s focus away from CFD only development. Booth also identified the upgrades as consisting of “new rear wing, exhausts, floor and side pods”.
This year McLaren have had the option to alter rear brake cooling during the pit stops in a race. As a result they can vary brake temperatures and potentially alter tyre temperature slightly. This latter effect being possible from the heat conducting from the red hot brake discs through the wheel and into the tyre. This system has been used at various races and each driver appears to have preference when to use it. This system has been especially useful this year, as the tyres dropping below their operating temperature window will see grip their levels fall dramatically. At the British GP one of the mechanical updates McLaren have brought, is the front brakes now also have this adjustability.
For years the F1 quick lift jack was a simple humble tool used around the garage and at pit stops. Since pit stops have become an ever greater part of the team’s performance during the race, the jack has come in for increasing levels of development. As powered jacks are no longer allowed, teams rely on a hefty pull from a mechanic to lift the car and gravity to return the car to the ground. Improving this process has lead to most teams adopting a similar quick-release swivel jack. At first a complicated looking piece of kit, the jack is still a simple device when reduced to its component parts.
Red Bull have raced two major iterations of sidepod and exhaust this season, at Valencia they introduced their third. This iteration brought the re-introduction of the bridgetunnel concept first used with their V2 sidepod. These sidepods not only sport a single tunnel, but the inlet is split to feed two different flows inside the bodywork. Initially mistaken as a double floor or double diffuser, This V3 sidepod sees a return to the duct blown starter motor hole raced in 2011.
Caterham have been slowly working their way clear of Marussia and HRT to close-in on Q2 sessions and the Toro Rosso’s in the race. This year the CT-01 is a clean sheet design and exploits a Renault engine with a Red Bull gearbox and KERS.
I’ve been lucky to have been given permission from Ionut Pascut to post these detail pictures taken at Monaco, to allow us to look at the detail of the 2012 Caterham.