Force India proceeded on minor rear wing revisions for the Aussie race weekend. The changes involved the number of wing’s flap fatheners, the number of which now reduced to two from three.
After Jerez test a heat sensor appeared on the inner surface of sidepod panel’s body to monitor front tyre performance . Sauber and Ferrari are other examples that used analogous sensors in that zone.
STR9 had a face lifting before Melbourne in an attempt to increase the amount of air passing under the nose . The new front end has elongated finger extension and highly arched and wider wing pillars which both increase the volume of space under the nose cone and furthermore curve a distinctive air channel above the nose. Channel shaped noses spring their origin back in 1998 on Mc Laren MP4/13, but in Mc Laren case the channel was shaped close the cocpit, rather than the nose end.
After Jerez test, Sauber tried a new front wing with a more boxy upper flap, revised main lower flap with wider slot also colored differently (more white color on its surface) , relocated cascade pillar and a less ducted endplate with new terminal body. The new wing retained for Melbourne .
Part of the upgrade package launched in second Bahraini test, was a front wing of new breed, much more sophisticated than the previous design. All crucial wing element-parts, like the upper flaps ( increased in number and reshaped both close to nose and endplates ),under flap vanes, cascade elements , main flap close to the endplates and even the endplate itself ( less ducted with enlarged horizontal plate on top) are reshaped in an attempt to divert air more effectively outwards the tyre profile and generate even greater amount of downforce.
However Alonso faced serious stability issues ( car bumping in vertical axis) in Melbourne, probably caused by knowledge shortage in terms of adjusting/setting up properly the new wing on car.
Ferrari tested new rear wing endplates with unified body (yellow arrow points the old slotted version) at last pre session test at Sakhir circuit. Additionally a mini plane briefly tested , located above the rear crash structure and between the wing pillars.
The unified endplate retained for Australia but instead the mini plane was excluded.
Ferrari brought back the old common airbox winglet , existent on almost all Formula 1 cars since a decade ago. Regulation changes over years made this distinctive aerodynamic device to vanish . In F14T case though that winglet version is placed above the roll bar and not behind the airscoup as was accustomed to during the past years . Its neutral shape and location helps to provide a better flow towards the rear wing’s profile rather than create downforce itself.
It still remains unclear whether it could even enhance the positive effect of DRS, boosting a bit the top speed or not . This is hard to say for now by simply comparing top speeds of cars, for two main reasons. First Ferrari powerunit at time being is considered less efficient than Mercedes and secondly there is still insufficient top speed data to compare. However a rejection of that winglet in ultra low downforce circuits like Monza would probably indicate the opposite.
The winglet made its debut in second Bahraini test and retained for season opening race in Melbourne.