Kobayashi adopted since Melbourne a modified front wing, differing on cascade elements.from the previous spec. On the contrary Ericsson retained the old version for all four non European races . However in Spain, Kobayashi paradoxically reversed to the old spec while Ericsson to the new.
Different front wing set ups for a certain track, is quite common between drivers within the same team, caused mainly by how driving style suits to the car’s characteristic or when racing in mixed (dry/rainy) conditions . Cars with low front grip forces a driver, who likes understeer, to adopt a front wing that generates extra amounts of downforce and vice versa.
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.
Having a front wing close to perfection Red Bull pushes always for further improvements, thus much effort was put to improve airflow channeling under the wing profile with the aid of multiple vertical vanes. Additionally an adjuster (inset above) is planted on the middle section of the upper plane to allow faster and easier attack angle transitions. That adjuster of elegant aero neutral shape, is rotated outwards showing somehow the actual route of airflow over the wing. A dual use of it in future would be to plant a heat sensor inside to monitor the tyre temperature in a similar way Mercedes does.
The team followed a very aggressive front wing development program the recent past seasons, something considered certain to continue again this season .
The front wing on the VJM07 follows a clear and obvious philosophy to divert airflow outwards as smoothly as possible, by introducing several vertical vanes on the planes, aided further by multi sectioned endplates . The need of creating front wings able to push air more efficiently outwards the tyre profile is now of increased need because the wing span shrank by 15 cm in 2014 .
In Marussia case the nose ends to an interesting single keel extension with a tip as wide as necessary to obey the necessary minimum cross section dimensions (9000 square mm, highlighted in inset) . The nose keel starts wide but becomes gradually thinner at its tail to encourage more air flow under the nose cone , an approach not followed by Caterham. I focus on Caterham because it is expected to be the major rival for Marussia for one more season .
Front wing by first sight looks to share no similarities to last season, considered indeed a huge step forward for the team. The tier of the wing itself increased close to the endplates to a 7-element one (No 1), while the inner section (No 4) slops downwards keeping with the help of the brake vane located further behind, a smooth flow under the nose cone. The two Venturi channels (No 2) help to guide airflow away from tyre profile. Endplates though still are underdeveloped compared to progress done on other wing parts .
Caterham adopted a very thin and low nose tip extension to comply with new technical regulations aiming to drive air under the chassis from nose tip sides rather through the zone between the nose pillars . Only time will reveal whether that nose aero strategy approach is validated optimum or not . Front wing’s structural philosophy seems to undergone a shift from Red Bull school to Mercedes . Caterham CT05 front wing, now reduced in overall length, is loaded compared to last season, with aero tweaks in an attempt to maintain similar amounts of downforce . Some interesting spots on the wing are the vertical vanes (No 3 ), the multi-elemental endplate (No 5 ) and double sectioned cascades (No 4) . Under the nose cone a horizontal vane (No 2) replaces the old channel forming vanes seen on CT03. Its function is analogous in concept to Williams and Mc Laren snow plough design raced few years ago .