Sunday, March 19, 2006

Technical Analysis - Grand Prix - Malaysia GP 2006 

Ferrari 248 F1 - brake cooling drums

This interesting feature used in Malaysia is an evolution of similar devices seen on cars last year, but Ferrari have taken it to its extreme. The cooling drum not only covers the brake disc and calliper, preventing heat being transferred to the wheel rim, it also creates a seal of sorts with the wheel itself. It completely fills the space inside the wheel rim, not only improving brake cooling, but also dramatically reducing the vortices generated by the rotation of the wheels, hence making this area more aerodynamically efficient.

Red Bull RB2 - additional venting gills

Malaysia is the hottest race and it is normal for teams to improve their cars' cooling capabilities here. Additional vents normally appear on the sidepods to better dissipate the hot air coming from the radiators. Despite the RB2's much-publicised cooling problems in pre-season testing, the RB2 sports just a few additional venting gills underneath the venting chimneys (red arrows and magnified area). These gills are not only efficient, but also neatly integrate into the bodywork design, closely following the sinuous profile of the sidepod.

Renault R26 - additional venting gills

Renault, like most teams, have improved the cooling capabilities of their car for Malaysia, to help guarantee engine reliability in the hot and humid conditions. A couple of additional venting gills have been placed at the top of the sidepod (small arrow and magnified area), requiring no change to the sidepod's profile, and asymmetrical cooling chimneys have been added (large left arrow). Such minimal modifications for Malaysia highlight the reduced cooling needs of the new V8 engines over last year's V10s.

Williams FW28 - front-wing ears

Introduced in Bahrain, this change takes on more significance at Sepang, where downforce requirements are higher. Two inner 'ears' are attached to the inside edge of the endplates (red arrow). These are a development of the fins seen in a similar position on last year's FW27, but they now have a wider role. Look closely and you discover they are divided by a horizontal slit, in effect creating two tiny wing profiles, or a double flap. The two ears work in the same way as a double-decker front wing, but are more efficient at raising the speed of the peripheral airflow, hence increasing downforce, with a minimal drag penalty.

Toyota TF106 - revised turning vanes

The area of the TF105 illustrated is complex and designed to improve the efficiency of the bottom of the car and hence raise downforce. That additional downforce helps to get heat into the tyres more quickly - not a big issue in Malaysian temperatures, but one that is believed to have troubled the team in pre-season testing. There are three main elements (red arrows) - a large, vertical barge board immediately behind the front suspension and then two sculpted turning vanes behind it.

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