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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

BRAWNGP - Technical - 09 Regulations

I'm a simple person that can grasp technical information should it be presented correctly, but with all the rule changes in F1 for 09 can the armchair fan quantify them all? Let's have a look at what the actual changes are in a simple format.

Slicks - No more grooved tyres, welcomed back by many as a trip to the better years when racing was closer. But what impact do Slicks have over groove tyres? A massive one is the easy answer, think of it this way groove tyres have less surface area touching the ground than a slick. Less surface area = Less Grip. Furthermore other characteristics appear such as tyre temperature operation, degredation, absorbtion and most importantly airflow. In my opinion the tyre on an F1 car could be classed as one of the single most important aspects of the entire cars design. If you don't understand how the tyre operates you can't build a car around it, the tyre takes impact and passes that on through heat, energy, direction and airflow. Understanding a cars tyre will help you mould a better F1 car.

Aero Changes - In an attempt to create closer racing and also bring back slicks the aero of the cars have been curtailed. Lower, Wider front wings and taller, narrower rear wings are the biggest difference that someone from the outside of F1 would see straight away. Also gone are the stick on aero bits that have dominated the sport for the last few years like McLaren's devil horns and Honda's Elephant nose cone (Although it appears that some are still finding means to bend the rules like Williams' surf fins) Most people seemed to believe that the cars would all look the same on the 09 Grid at Melbourne but thankfully that isn't the case and the designers have been busying theirselves finding both loopholes and different ways to design their cars.

In Car Adjustable Front Wing Settings - This year the driver will be able to adjust their front wing angles by 6 degrees twice a lap, this again should prove interesting for cornering and overtaking as they are limited to 2 movements per lap. (At the time of writing I don't know but I assume that the team can still manipulate the wing angle further during pit stops, so as to give the driver different feedback once pit stops have occured)

KERS - A massive leap forwards in my opinion, F1 has always been described as the pinnacle of motorsport and this takes them there. Designing a system that recoups energy in a form that can be reused. I know there were initial doubts over how it would all work and even if some teams would use the tech in the opening season. However you can't argue with anything that helps/hinders overtaking and causes wheel to wheel action. Listening to some of the drivers comments on KERS and using the system during corners to get a greater exit speed seems to be the stratergy to be used, however I would see this as an evolution that will be used to differently by different drivers dependant on their skillset and the environment. Having driven both N/A, turbo and S/C'd cars on circuit there is a world of difference when you know you have a little more go ready mid corner.

So what do you think to the technical changes of F1, will it bring closer racing? will it confuse the fans?

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I have been an F1 fan from a very early age, however in my very early years I didn't really support a team just loved the racing. Since the BAR years I have been supporting this team through it's highs and lows. I'm confident under Ross Brawn's control the team will go from strength to strength and hopefully Jenson and Rubens can find themselves in a competitive car once more.


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