#F1: F1 Forensics – Crazy Race from Hungarian GP

Brought to you by TheJudge13 technical analyst: Lorenzo de Luca

Crazy Race and reliability subverts field values

The Hungarian GP was the most thrilling race of the year, thanks to uncertain weather conditions and neutralizations. The Mercedes team did not shine as expected, with bad strategies and (again) reliability taht was less than perfect which compromised Rosberg’s and Hamilton’s races. The stand out from the Hungaroring chaos was undoubtedly Daniel Ricciardo with his RB10 – Newey’s latest creation perfectly fitting a Hungarian track that emphasized the RB10’s aerodynamic qualities.

 Afraid of the heat

Although the Hungaroring is not demanding in terms of power, the Hungarian track is rather severe in terms of cooling. Thanks to its layout, which sees many corners follow one another in quick succession, it becomes complicated to sufficiently cool everything to acceptable levels. This applies to the gearbox as well as the braking system. And it is precisely this aspect that the teams focused on throughout the race weekend as it was necessary to find a compromise between aerodynamic efficiency and an adequate cooling system. Many teams, saw the high temperatures we had on Friday and Saturday and chose to not take risks as we can see by the countermeasures adopted


Red Bull Asymmetrical brake basket


Sauber Asymmetrical brake basket


Mercedes Asymmetrical brake basket


These solutions were used to help the left tire to not overheat as this is the most stressed tire.

Williams engine cover and side pod shoulder duct


On the Williams FW36 the team have dropped the louvred fin – despite this solution aiding the cooling of some of the power unit elements and increasing the rear wing efficiency by cleaning the airflow ahead of it with the mini-vortex generated by the louvres. But we also saw the comeback of the side pod shoulder duct which had been abandoned from a couple of the more recent races. This solution, not only helps the cooling system, but it also has aero benefits, indeed the duct helps to avoid thickening of the boundary layer.

Force India engine cover


Even Force India, had to sacrifice aero efficiency to improving the cooling of the power unit elements and in Hungary the VJM07 dropped the latest engine cover (more tapered and with a shark fin) for the old solution with an additional duct on the roll hoop.

Mclaren louvres


Mclaren engineers adopted an old solution on the engine cover, with louvres set along the top of the sidepod of the Coke bottle sweep to help the cooling of the gearbox. Also notice, the double mushroom ( or butterfly) double suspension arms.

Mclaren floor duct


But that’s not all, indeed we also saw again the floor duct, a solution inspired by the Lotus F1 Team, a duct that should help the cooling of some elements such as radiators or electrical components.

Ferrari engine cover


The team of the Prancing horse, chose to not take any risk here, and brought the last engine cover introduced in Germany. The new solution, although maintaining a RedBull-esque design (to blow hot air into a very crucial area which is useful to generate downforce) has a bigger outlet to improve the discharge of hot air.

Red Bull Asymmetrical ducts


On the RB10, everything design feature has been detailed meticulously. Indeed at the cockpit sides, we now have seven louvres ( before there were only 5). The interesting thing, is that the ducts are asymmetrical, if on the left they are squared, on the right they have a triangular shape. A solution that we also saw on the Ferrari F14-T .

Sauber C33 NACA holes


There were some interesting design choices on the Sauber C33. The Swiss car carried two NACA holes, but only on Sutil’s car, this solution would help the cooling of both the driver and some electrical components which lie inside the chassis.

 Mercedes, now things are getting serious

They wasted a chance, for the umpteenth race both W05’s had issues with both their brake system (brake disks overheat + brake by wire) and fuel pump issues. Seeing the pace Rosberg had with the intermediate tires, and the furious comeback of the German driver during the last laps, it’s easy to say that , depsite the FRIC ban, Mercedes is still the dominant force. But at Brixworth, engineers should start to worry. With Hamilton’s car on fire on Saturday, and the issues both drivers had during the race it should be a wake-up call for Wolff & Co. as with more competitive rivals the chase for the championship would not be so easy for them.

Red Bull : a signal to Renault?

We have always spoken well of the chassis qualities of the RB10, a car that from an aerodynamic point of view, has nothing to envy of the Mercedes W05, and Budapest just confirmed this. Although the race has been distorted by weather conditions and the safety car, it was obvious on Friday and Saturday (with Vettel) that the car seemed comfortable on the Hungarian track. As has been said, the Hungaroring is not a demanding track for power, but the victory taken by Ricciardo could be interpreted as a signal to Renault: if the car does not win anymore it is because of the lack of power from the French unit. Meanwhile it’s is obvious that there are no limits to Newey’s work on the car – even in Hungary there were updates on the car – in particular on the front wing; now we have an additional flap on the main plane to increase the downforce.

Red Bull new front wing


Ferrari, are there any improvements ?

The result from Hungary was the son of the ‘perfect storm’ with the particular circumstances which took place during the race. Indeed, for this reason it’s best to look at the qualifying performances as a better indicator of Ferrari’s performance.

Qualifying session sector times chart


By looking at the chart above, we can see how the biggest gap for Ferrari is in the middle sector of the track which is composed by many corners in quick succession. This could be explained by a lack of directionality and downforce at the front. All of this can be traced back to poor choices in the design phase. This solution, led to design a car with an extended wheelbase, which moved the weight of the car to the rear end, thus leading to a front end with neither enough downforce and inaccurate in response to driver input.

F14-T oil tank displacement




30 responses to “#F1: F1 Forensics – Crazy Race from Hungarian GP

  1. Do you have any sense that the newly restricted wind tunnel / CFD times are affecting the size, number or quality of aero updates this year? Or is that pain still to be felt when the teams come to getting stuck into their 2015 cars?

    • For sure the new restrictions rules have somehow affected the way teams plan to rearearch for new components on the car. But in my opinion, it is due to the Mercedes dominance and the fact that some teams failed the development of their 2014 cars.

  2. Interesting re the Ferrari gearbox/oil cooler. Has Ferrari not always run a longer wheelbase though but by having the oil cooler in the rear you also have more weight (bigger gearbox) rather than having it on top (turbo in the way?) or one of the sidepods.

    Where does RB and Mercedes place theirs?

    • Basically every car placed the oil tank between the chassis and the engine.

      By having a bigger gearbox, you have more weight in the rear, this (combined with a stiff chassis and the poor aerodynamic efficiency) explain why the F14-T is very nervous car to drive . The aim of Ferrari, was to design a very compact power unit, to have more aerodynamic efficiency. That’s why they put the intercooler in the middle of the “V” of the internal combustion engine with physical space limitations , which also led to the adoption of a turbine Honeywell rather small. All of these solutions, led to a significant loss of power (both from the ICE and from ERS) compared to Mercedes PU106

      • Ferrari were chasing exceptionally CoG numbers too, I think, with the g’box solution. I think a few design cues Ferrari adopted over the past few years are based on that priority.

        Incidentally, LDL, are the weight distributions front / rear not fixed?

      • I always thought that short-wheelbase cars tended to be more nervous handling – think I remember JYS claiming that was why he and Cevert could cope with the early Tyrrells. Is the F14T nevousness a sign of aerodynamic insufficiency?

        • For sure it also depend on the aero insufficiency,

          But on a longer wheelbase car we have a different weight distribution : http://i.imgur.com/KvMbDzo.jpg

          As you can see , on a short wheelbase car, we have more weight on the front axle, while quite the opposite with a long wheelbase car.

          Having more weight on the front axle (actually we don’t have more weight, but a different ballast displacement) means having a better handling car , more responsive. But also it give you a more stable front end when cornering , while a longer wheelbase give you a better traction when accelerating, or in general when exiting a corner

          • I think that also explains why Kimi did better with the shorter wheelbase car, while Grosjean looked better with the longer one.

          • Also consider that the cars would have a different pitch, squat, and dive characteristic. FRICS would have negated the difference, and it would be possible to select the characteristic that suited the driver and/or the tyres etc. Post FRICS it will be interesting to see any major shifts in driver or car performance.

  3. LdL, I love your peices.

    The Ferrari innovation explains a lot re: Kimi in particular.

    “On the RB10, every design feature has been detailed meticulously… …interesting thing, is that the ducts are asymmetrical, if on the left they are squared, on the right they have a triangular shape.”

    What benefit, or purpose, does this serve?

    • It’s not really an innovation, it is a solution used a lot in the 80/90’s..

      About Red Bull, it could be that the triangular shaped ducts acts like little VGs, to clean the airflows on that side of the car (due to track layout) or more simply, the triangular shaped ducts gives more benefits in terms of cooling (If I recall correctly, the intercooler is placed just in that side pod)

  4. Great piece, highly informative, along with your responses to the questions in the comments. I’m sort of new to this and I have a question. From all I have read here and elsewhere, the mercedes has a better power unit and chassis design, while the redbull has the better aero oriented chassis but sloppy engine . Would it be safe to say that with a mercedes engine the redbull would become the dominant car?

  5. I like it just the way it is right now your honour! And I hope Renault does not get it too right next year *mischevious grin* but then again what if the mercedes switched engines with renault and still beat the field? The aero philosophy of ferrari and Mercedes may actually be better…. I really don’t know, just a bunch of what ifs…

  6. I find it interesting how much press articles there were earlier in the year about how teams might opt for more extreme nose solutions on the cars. Specifically, I’m surprised we didn’t yet see Ferrari try one of those raised noses with the extended tip. Or would getting more air under the car just achieve more rear downforce, which could lead to more understeer, if they’re struggling with the weight distribution?

    • Ferrari was rumored (before the Canadian Gp) to introduce a new nosecone on its F14-T. But as we all known we didn’t saw anything, maybe because, at that time, Ferrari already started to focus just on the 2015 car.

      More downforce at the rear it’s always a good thing, my opinion is that the F14-T is deisgned just to take advantage from a lowered nose tip. In particular a nose like the one of the F14-T (previously used also by Mercedes), help to have more downforce at the front end, thanks to its design indeed there is a lot of pressure under the chassis ( the nose , basically acts like a Venturi pipe) : more pressure=more energizef airflows=more downforce.

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