- January 31, 2011
We’ve had a few launch cars show off now, so lets have a quick look at what Ferrari’s F150, Lotus Renault’s and Sauber’s C30 look like at the launch stage.
First off let’s look at the first of the big teams to show their car, the Ferrari F150.
The F150 does have a few interesting things to take note of, but for the most part is an iteration of last year’s car, taking into account the rule changes (more on those later).
We can tell the front wing on the show car is not the 2011 part as it still has the driver adjustment on it (no longer available to drivers in 2011)
The rear of the car too is known to be ‘unfinished’ as Aldo Costa has said that Exhaust and Rear Wing development is high on the list of work to do. We do notice though that the ‘shark fin’ body work is gone, now that does not mean it wont be seen again at some point, as it’s not pretty, and the car looks better for it’s launch photo’s without it. There is some fairly significant changes for Ferrari at the back of the car however already on show. The rear wing is now mounted by a centre pylon
It can also be seen in this shot how the rear wing flap opens and closes (probably hydraulics fed upto the flap).
The Ferrari rear diffuser was a very simple affair, probably meaning that they do not currently want to show off the development one that will be run in testing.
Next up we have Sauber’s C30 car.
The new Sauber C30 is the first car for a few years to not have been developed with the help of BMW.
The team is back to it’s independent roots, and has brought James Key from Force India in to look after the development of the car.
The car is a basic evolution of most of the concepts in the C29 from what we can see, a lot of the teething issues with the Ferrari power plant last year should have been solved in this car, as the team have had time to fit the Ferrari power and ancillary parts into the car properly, rather than the shoehorn style of last years car.
The nose section is slightly higher than the C29’s and has a more ‘V’ style to it, again a lot of the front of the car is actually carried over from last years car for the launch, and will change during testing.
The sidepods have been reshaped, and now have a much more Ferrari’esque U shape to them rather than the triangular one of the C29.
The diffuser was kept well covered during the launch, however the car has been snapped on track and it seems to be quiet a complex setup that Sauber have adopted. Obviously the double diffuser is now banned, but the engineers will find ways of recovering the loss, and the Sauber team seam to be using the exhaust outlet to blow the guerney flap and starter hole to generate some of the loss, you will also see some small ‘finger’ vanes on the end plates, these are to help the airflow out of the diffuser.
And now to Lotus Renault (the team previously known as Renault)
The Lotus Renault team have launched the R31 and there are some very interesting touches to this car.
Chief among them is where the exhaust’s exit the car, there is rumour and talk that they actually exit forward of the sidepods, this would allow some clever use of the airflow under the front of the car, heading back to the diffuser, and would also solve the feeding issues of blowing the rear diffuser to some extent.
The team says that the new car maintains the weight distribution and balance of last years car even though it’s 50mm longer (to house the new KERS systems) and that there will be many changes during testing. The front of the car is one of the biggest visible changes to the car, as the raised V style nose has made an appearance on this car as well.
There are also some interesting changes to the side and top of the car, the Ferrari style U sidepods turn up here as well, and the Roll structure above the driver seems very simplistic at first, but it seems may be hiding something as well, I’m sure that will come out in due course.
All in all some nice cars launched so far. So then, now for the changes to the 2011 season that need to be kept in mind, and watched out for.
Tyres – Completely new to all the teams, Pirelli are now the sole manufacturer of tyres in F1, Bridgestone pulling out after last year. All the teams need to acclimatise to the new rubber, as Pirelli have been using a 2009 Toyota for most of the development work.
F-Duct – Gone, simple as that, this is no longer allowed, although some of it’s benefits have been replicated with the new rear wing.
Diffuser - The double diffuser is now banned, we are sure however that the teams will find ways and means to bend the rules and claw back most of the loss of aero downforce.
KERS – KERS makes a return to the cars this year, The Ferrari system is said to be much more advanced than it was last time it was used in 2009, and we know that McLaren had a very good system then as well. Renault also had a working system, and 12 months of development to rid it of it’s bugs. I’m sure that KERS will add to the show this year, as push to pass and the changeable rear wings will compete with each other.
Wings – Adjustable front wings are now gone, and have been replaced by driver adjustable rear wings, I’m sure we will see some innovation here as it’s the area of the new rules with most scope for creativity. The front wings however will be seen to ‘flex’ more from all the teams this year. The Red Bull was the team using this the most to their advantage last year, and consistently passed all the FIA deflection tests, therefore with the precedence set we will see all of the front running teams using deflecting wings, how far teams can ‘push’ this rule though will be interesting to see.
These are the rules that I see being most influential on the new cars we are and will see, let’s bring on the testing season, see what all the teams have got up their sleeves.