Will Gray

Technical Talk: Double diffuser developments

Will Gray

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So what difference, if any, did these new designs make?

The typical place to find the true relative pace of the cars is during qualifying's Q2 session, when all cars are running as light as possible to try to get into the top-10 shoot-out - and ignoring the incomparable race in Monaco - a comparison between the figures from the Spanish and Turkish races make interesting reading.

Red Bull overcame the hurdle of fitting, testing and optimising the new double diffuser in Monaco, so they expected to hit the ground running in Turkey.

They had already been up the front even without the double diffuser - with the fastest Red Bull just hundredths off the fastest Q2 time in Spain — and with it they took a step ahead, with Vettel 0.179s (0.2 per cent) ahead of the closest car in Turkey Q2 as Toyota pipped Brawn to second.

It seems then that Red Bull now have the fastest car over a single lap — but their season continues to be hampered by misfortunes or mistakes in the race itself.

BMW (pictured), on the other hand, are playing a significant game of catch-up after naming this the year they planned to fight for the title.

They faced a race against time in Turkey as they had to spend Friday testing the new double diffuser and check it against predicted pace shown in the wind tunnel.

Bringing in the new part required significant changes across the car's entire length, with the new back end having an effect all the way to the front as front wings, side bargeboards, rim shields and rear engine cover all required attention.

But after qualifying, BMW were left hoping there is more single-lap pace to come after their performance in Q2, for some reason, showed little sign of improvement.

In Barcelona, their fastest car was 0.454s (0.57 per cent) off pole — while in Turkey that improved only a little, to 0.439s (0.50 per cent) off.

That said, the drivers both felt that pace was improved and showed so in the race, with Kubica's fastest lap just 0.429s slower than the fastest lap of the race set by Jenson Button.

This compared well to Barcelona when the Pole's fastest lap was 1.316s off the race's best lap in Barcelona (set by Rubens Barrichello).

Engineering chief Willy Rampf admitted they need another upgrade "of the same magnitude" for the next race to start moving into the higher positions.

They do have more on the board after having had to scrap their KERS system in Spain after it failed to fit the new aerodynamic chassis design - leaving it on the backburner to concentrate on developing the aerodynamic package last weekend.

But unless that return of KERS does the job, another significant step is going to be pretty hard to come by.

 

DATE PUBLISHED ON: 10 JUNE 2009

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