Ferrari have obviously impressed many with their straight line performance out of the box with little apparent changes since winter testing in Barcelona.
Mercedes on the other hand has already introduced a full design change before the start of the season, along with several rather large updates in Australia, seemingly attempting to play catchup with Ferrari whose car has set the benchmark for pace without any major updates.
Thanks to a major rule change introduced for the new 2019 season, Formula 1 engineers are currently seeking the perfect solution with the new front wing spec and we’ve thus far seen a surprising array of differences by each team.
The primary goal of a modern F1 car front wing isn’t purely to produce downforce, but to shape the air and direct it around the wheels along with aiming spinning turbulent vortices at various downforce generating parts on the car behind the wing.
The biggest question before the season started was who would react with the best ideas to the new FIA front wing rule changes. In some cars, such as Alfa Romeo or Ferrari, the air was directed around the front tyres, while in others, such as the Mercedes, the air was directed upwards over the wheels.
Mercedes copies Ferrari
By Australia, Mercedes had further developed their front wing to be a hybrid of the Ferrari, the German marque aiming more air around the front tyres whilst maintaining the flow over them.
Mercedes also mounted new rear wing end plates for Bahrain. The slats in the lower area are now divided into three instead of two elements. Apart from some cooling holes in the bodywork, Ferrari on the other hand maintained their concept up until the first in-season F1 testing at Bahrain, after the Grand Prix there, obviously confident that their car had the upper hand.
On Vettel’s car, Ferrari did test out a low downforce rear wing during the test, an obvious eye to Shanghai and definately Baku. Both circuits have incredibly long straights so a low downforce setup would be key to producing a winning car.
Rather worrying for the competition is the fact that Ferrari already seem to enjoy a more powerful, if perhaps more fragile, power unit. It is suspected that Ferrari have already breached 1,000 hp despite the new engine rules attempting to peg back the output of these hybrid Formula One power units. TJ13 covered this story some days ago and I thoroughly recommend reading that here.
What’s also interesting is that whilst Ferrari are looking for less rear wing downforce, sister team Alfa Romeo are doing the opposite as you can read below…
Chinese Grand Prix coverage
The next race in China is happening this weekend, starting on Friday free-practice. One of the easiest ways of watching is to use the new F1 TV pro (learn more).
After a shaky start in 2018, it seems that the streaming service has got it’s act together better and it’s something this Judge can now recommend.
Friday 12th April 2019
Chinese Grand Prix Free Practice 1: 10:00-11:30 (UK time: 3:00-4:30)
Chinese Grand Prix Free Practice 2: 14:00-15:30 (UK time: 7:00-8:30)
Saturday 13th April 2019
Chinese Grand Prix Free Practice 3: 11:00-12:00 (UK time: 4:00-5:00)
Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying: 14:00 (UK time: 7:00)
Sunday 14th April 2019
Chinese Grand Prix: 14:10 (UK time: 7:10)
Alfa Romeo surprises all, big update coming for Räikkönen in China
9th April 2019
The Swiss team formerly known as Sauber are somewhat going under the radar after two races, coming in for 4th place in the constructors’ championship – Kimi Räikkönen also scored some solid points in the second race of the season and for China, things could go even better.
Many are seeing Haas, Renault and even McLaren as ‘best of the rest’ but points awarded thus far show that Alfa-Romeo are the pick of the bunch with 10 points, two more than Haas and McLaren, four more than the factory team Renault. Kimi Räikkönen scored well in both races, whereas teammate Antonio Giovinazzi has been finding his feet with 15th and 11th, no score finishes.
Actually, things could have gone much better in Bahrain for Alfa, Antonio Giovinazzi was only 6.2 seconds behind Sergio Perez before the safety car appeared, but was catching the Mexican fast at more than a second per lap.
Räikkönen was chasing McLaren’s Lando Norris hard for sixth place when again, the safety car intervened.
“I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the McLaren.” says the Finn
“I tried everything and was faster than Norris. In the first part of the corners, I was able to stay close, but at the exit, I always lost traction when I…… (READ MORE)