Four teams revise front wings to pass new FIA tests
There was a delivery for Red Bull on Friday morning in Montreal – new front wings. They looked the same as the ones used in Bahrain, their specification for medium-fast tracks, with the difference being that the myriad of flaps had been strengthened to avoid flexing under load. FIA had issued a rule-amendment coming into effect with the Canadian GP that the flaps on the front wings now must not deform by more than 3 millimetres under a load of 60 kN.
Red Bull wasn’t the only team who had to retire their wobbly bodywork. According to Auto Motor & Sport, Toro Rosso, Lotus and Mercedes had to bring new, less flexible wings as well.
The engine manufacturers got nailed to the shed as well, now being required to send in detailed technical documentation of any engine change eight days prior at the latest. It doesn’t matter if token were used or not. “Until now they just dumped a hundred pages of documentation on our desk. You can’t possibly work through that during a GP weekend,” FIA scrutineers are quoted. The suspicion is that some manufacturers hoped the FIA staff didn’t get through it during the GP weekend if the docs were turned in at the last minute. According to AMuS, all four of them were on their best behaviour prior to Canada and turned in their papers in time.
Last row start for Red Bull at home track
Of all the tracks, their home ground will see both Red Bulls start from the last row, deliberately incurring penalties by installing the fifth power unit. The Red Bull Ring is a power track, so Red Bull reckons that taking a penalty on a track their car is useless on is the best way, choosing to concentrate on races that favour aerodynamic efficiency, like Silverstone, Budapest and Singapore.
While Canada is a power track too, they didn’t make the strategic switch there as that would mean the new engine would have been four races old at Budapest and with a Renault engine that’s akin to walking into a Croatian restaurant, ordering a Serbian bean soup – it’s just asking for trouble. Christian Horner identified Budapest as the best shot they are going to get at a decent result this year, so the Austrians are trying to avoid penalties at that track at all cost.
Meanwhile, Renault find themselves with yet more egg on their face as Red Bull made data available that show that the 2015 power unit is actually worse than last year’s. Despite running a Monza spec rear wing, they were still 10 kph short on top speed and lost 0.8 seconds in the last sector alone. “The GPS data are damning,” the ever so diplomatic Dr. Marko explained. But even without the outspoken doctor the team looks quite bad. They and McLaren were the only teams who were actually slower in qualifying than in 2014. Mercedes improved by 0.5 seconds, Ferrari by 0.8, Williams by 0.4 and even the Frankenstein’ed Force India was faster than its predecessor by almost 0.7 seconds.
No testing for Vettel and Räikkönen
Despite the fact that due to limited testing, track time is more precious than ever, Ferrari will not run their regular drivers in the upcoming in-season test at Spielberg, just after the Austrian GP. On Tuesday the Gestione Sportiva will run rookie Antonio Fuoco, On Wednesday test and reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez will be at the helm of the SF15-T.
19-year-old Fuoco is part of Ferrari’s young driver program and after graduating from karting he won the Italian Formula Renault 2.0 in 2013. Last season he competed in the Formula 3 Euroseries, winning two races. This year he competes in GP3.
Like the Barcelona in-season test, TJ13 will cover the the two testing days in Austria with snarky live commentary by the Fat Hippo.