The first test in Jerez starts tomorrow and already we have seen renderings or photos of the cars from half the teams on the grid.
The splashy launches of yesteryear have given way to online reveals and renderings, but these still give us insight into some of the major changes to car design that this year will bring.
Ever since the 2014 technical regulations were released last year there, there has been much speculation about the look of the noses. In recent years aerodynamicists have been trying to get the nose of the car as far from the ground as possible. This maximises airflow under the car, which is then used to feed the floor and channel round the sidepods – both which help the diffuser.
One benefit of lowering the noses is that the suspension geometry is more favourable. The high chassis cars mean that front wishbones need to be sloped up to the car, which compromises weight transfer. This is a classic example of aerodynamics trumping mechanical grip. Now with the low nose rules many teams will be able to lower the front suspension mountings and run a more typical geometry.
Williams FW36 and FW35 comparedFor 2014 the width of the front wing has been reduced by 75mm each side. This is to an attempt to reduce the number of accidents involving the front wing. What seems a minor change is reasonably significant.
Sidepods and cooling
With the introduction of the 1.6 litre turbos and Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) the cooling requirements have increased. This means either bigger sidepods inlets or additional cooling solutions. However, teams are keen to minimise the size of the sidepod opening to allow them to maximise the undercut as this helps channel airflow around the car to the diffuser.
Diffuser, gearbox and rear wing
One of the most significant changes for 2014 is the placement of the exhaust outlet. The tailpipe must exit behind the diffuser on the car centreline. This eliminates any possibility of using the exhaust to blow the diffuser.
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