During qualifying we saw Michael Schumachers seat being refitted. Rather than the simple carbon fibre moulding we normally see, the Mercedes seat also had six lines leading from connectors at the top edge of the seat. These are in fact air pipes, leading to inflatable cushions. Not a sign of Schumachers age, as this is a similar set up he also used at Ferrari. Schumacher like to to be well fitted into his seat, so the inflatable solution allows the engineers to connect an air line to each of the valves at the top of the seat, to inflate the pads to suit Schumachers requirements. There are six pads; around the shoulder, hips and thigh, although only the right side of the seat has four pads, leaving just two on the other side.
Although some aero devices were deemed legal in Bahrain, the FIA scrutineers did take a different view of some teams starter holes. This hole is allowed with in the rule to be in the diffuser in order to alow the starter mechanism to be inserted. Normally this is a simple round hole, but some teams have expanded the hole into a much wider ellipse shape. This effectively makes the starter hole an extra slot to alow the diffuser to be steeper and create more downforce. The Scrutineers have asked for these designs to be changed before the Australian GP.
Ross Brawn was open following the opening test in Valencia, which uncovered a few problems with the car. One being the cars weight distribution, which is reportedly too far forward. With the narrower front tyres and revised rears most teams are playing with this setting. Brawn were one of the team that learnt early last year how a forwards weight bias would work well with the new slick tyres. This year the tendency is to shift the distribution back 1-2%. Which is a relatively simple case of taking ballast from the front wing and splitter and placing it around the gearbox area.
One more visual change is the unique roll structureairbox, which has been subtly revised. The sculpting behind the roll structure feeding the oil cooler has gained a side panel to enclose the duct, forming a more distinct entrance either side of the main inlet.
Then having had problems with cracking exhausts and the question over the original exposed exhaust design not meeting the R75 bodywork regulations, the car sported new exhausts, twisted near their exits and with slash cuts to make them flush with the bodywork.