Brought to you by TheJudge13 technical analyst: Lorenzo De Luca
Mercedes ends the season dominating in Abu Dhabi
The season ended as it started, with the Mercedes power unit dominating the field. That was not a surprise seing that the UAE track features long straights – interrupted by slow chicanes that enhanced the PU106’s skills of power and good fuel consumption. From the opening laps it was clear – with Mercedes racing once again in a league of their own – with only Felipe Massa’s Williams able to clock similar lap times.
Race pace chart :
As we can see from the chart above, Mercedes built a huge gap in the first stint with a full fuel load (Abu Dhabi required all the 100Kg of fuel to finish the race) and both W05’s were capable of running two seconds faster than the rest of the field during the first stint. This has proven a steady gap throughout the season, affected only by reliability issues as we can see in the chart below :
Race pace gap from Mercedes :
Average team race pace gap from Mercedes :
More than half of a second advantage on the n fastest team – Red Bull – it leaves little hope for next year too, specially for teams like Ferrari or Mclaren (although in this case Honda competitiveness will be a key role) that have to bridge around a 1s performance gap to the Mercedes.
A gap that gets even bigger if we look at the qualifying session, were the cars express the maximum performances.
Qualifying average gap throughout the season :
Even in qualifying Red Bull confirms that they are the second force on the grid, with Williams following and then Ferrari. Here the difference in efficiency of the ERS system and recovery energy is even bigger expanding even more the difference between each power unit.
Sector 1 chart :
Sector 2 chart :
Sector 3 chart :
In Abu Dhabi the biggest differences were evident in the second and third sectors, if in the first sector (relatively short) we have an average gap of just 3 tenths, in the second ( two long straights) and the third sector (slow corners in sequence) we have a 7 tenths average gap. It is interesting to notice how in the first two sectors it is Williams who is very close to Mercedes, highlighting a great low drag set-up (also helped by the Mercedes power unit) while in the third (and slowest) one it is Red Bull with Ricciardo who is very close to Mercedes, highlighting RB10 aerodynamic abilities and precision of the front end.
It’s also worth noticing the big difference in top speed with Williams being 10/15 km\h faster than anybody else with only Mclaren and Kvyat capable of attaining a similar top speed
Top Speed chart :
ERS Failure cost Rosberg 2-3 seconds per lap
Without starting a discussion on who, between Rosberg and Hamilton, most deserved the world championship, in Abu Dhabi the ERS failure give us the opportunity to estimate its value on laptime. On the UAE track this was around 2/3 seconds per lap. If the most obvious loss is power (around 160Bhp) we also have to take into account how its failure affected the braking system, because with the MGU-K not slowing down the crankshaft anymore it was delegating the braking power only to the brakes pads and calipers (smaller for Mercedes at the rear end – only 4 pistons vs 6 ) and compromising the brake balance of the car .
Rosberg vs Hamilton race pace :
Mclaren Mp24/9 B
It was announced that In Abu Dhabi – Mclaren had brought a huge aerodynamic update package, to start focusing on 2015 project. Peter Prodromou, former Red Bull engineer brought with him all the ideas he shared with Newey and there was no surprise seeing the new front wing being a copy and paste of the current RB10 front wing.
Mclaren new front wing :
To better adapt the new front wing to the car, there was also the introduction of new turning vanes placed under the chassis, which in this case, have gone in a totally different direction from the Red Bull design
Mclaren turning vanes :