Brought to you by TheJudge13 technical analyst: Lorenzo De Luca
Mercedes plays hide and seek with the opponents
The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the toughest races of the season and gave us some interesting hints for the remainder of the season. Hamilton won with ease, despite the Safety Car and has annulled the gap he built during the first part of the season.
As we’ll see later, Mercedes proved once again, that the gap to be bridged may be much bigger than we originally thought . Behind Hamilton, we saw (not by chance) both Red Bulls, which thanks to the track layout delivered a very good performance for both drivers.
Off the podium were Ferrari, which after having delivered a good performance on Saturday, were unable to compete on Sunday with Red Bull yet again. Te Williams teams performance was also interesting, which now becomes a strong candidate for the third place in the overall rankings.
The Marina Bay circuit has a very twisty layout with twenty-three corners, most of them at 90° degrees that needs to be faced with lower gears. This feature combined with the very short straights, force teams to choose a very high downforce setup, the same level of load we would have in Monaco or Budapest. So downforce and traction become the key to deliver a good performance.
Race pace chart + stints average times :
Mercedes 18kg lighter and 60hp morepowerful
As it has been said before, the Mercedes gap could well be much bigger than previously thought. Taking only into account just the laps after the safety car, we can see that Mercedes has a gap (on the race pace) of about 1.7s! Almost two seconds, which means a really huge advantage for this era of F1. Where does this advantage comes from ?
According to latest rumors, the Mercedes W05, not only has a more powerful power unit ( about 50/60hp ), but also an advantage of being 18Kg lighter than the opposition. (which translates to at least three tenths advantage per lap). The secret was to perfectly fit the power unit with the chassis and the cooling system, the result was an efficient (aerodynamically speaking) car, with more power available.
Mercedes power unit layout :
And in Singapore, Mercedes limited itself to using the same package used in Budapest, apart from a slightly revised monkey seat
Mercedes new monkey seat :
The new one differs with a double upper element, in order to increase the vertical load which was crucial for this race. The gap shown so far from Mercedes is likely to remain the same for the next seasons. Ferrari, Renault and Honda cannot fail next years project, it will be their last chance (due to freezing rules) to bridge at least part of the gap as Aldo Costa revealed that their 2015 power unit will be 70hp more powerful.
Red Bull nonstop development
It should have been one of their best chances to beat the Mercedes, the track layout which requires downforce and traction would have highlighted the RB10 skills, capable to carry speed as much as possible through the corners so to compensate the lack of power, which wouldn’t have been crucial on this track though. In the attempt to try to catch the Mercedes, Red Bull introduced a new front wing
Red Bull front wing :
Which is a slightly revised version of that used in Budapest thanks to the 3rd upperflap now being much bigger. In order to exploit all the RB10 major features, it also introduced a new nosecone (5th of the season!)
Red Bull new nosecone :
This new nose, features a bigger bulge on its underside, which helps to “move forward” the downforce balance, which is crucial to have for a more responsive car into the chicanes and generally when entering the corners.
Ferrari focused only on 2015
Ferrari also used the same package introduced in Budapest as admitted by Pat Fry. The development sources are now fully focused on the 2015 project (codename 666), although improvements have been seen, the F14-T cannot yet compete with Mercedes or Red Bull.
The next season will be crucial, Ferrari not only have to fix the mistakes made during the development of the 059/3 (bigger turbine, oil tank between chassis and power unit, and maybe an air to air heat exchanger) , but also have to work a lot on the suspension system (which has basically been confirmed to being used a push rod layout) and most of all on the aerodynamics. The gap from Mercedes at the moment is quite big (1s gap on the race pace, over 2s on qualifying lap), recovery will take much more time than everyone expected.
Williams, the final third place is now closer
Williams delivered a good performance in Singapore despite the track layout not being ideal for the FW36. In Singapore we saw the engine cover with louvres on the spine
Williams engine cover :
Which helps preventing the formation of vortex, hence the airflow that goes towards the rear wing increases its efficiency.
Also new was the rear brake duct, with its aim being not only to cool down the brake pad and disk, but also to create downforce
Williams brake duct :
Indeed as you can see the brake duct take the shape of a flap, actually acting as a little wing to create more downforce.
There were updates on the Force India and they brought a new front wing and rear diffuser, the front wing differs with a new endplate
Force India front wing :
These manage the outwash in a different way and the little flap helps to increase the downforce.
The new rear diffuser is inspired by Red Bull, for its cut-outs placed on the fins of the diffuser which was slightly revised as also were the gurney flap at the outer edges.
Force India rear diffuser :
Big updates for Sauber too, the Swiss team introduced a new high downforce front wing with a different design
Sauber front wing :
The new one has a bigger flap on the endplate and a bigger endplate “floor”
Also new was the engine cover, which now has a more lengthened terminal side pods area to increase the diffuser efficiency and a new development was the spine design to increase the efficiency of the airflow towards the rear wing.