Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Austrian GP tech debrief: Brakes in the spotlight

The Red Bull Ring put a premium on brake performance during the Austrian Grand Prix, with teams having to do their best to make them last, as Giorgio Piola and Matt Somerfield explain.

Austrian GP tech debrief: Brakes in the spotlight

Brake and tyre temperatures are a critical factor in the performance of a race car and something that Mercedes has focused on heavily for some time now.

For example, in the opening seven races the team raced seven different front brake inlet configurations, after Rosberg’s race was compromised by tyre debris lodged in the brake inlet in Australia.

For Austria, the team opted to completely open up the brake drum, leaving the disc and caliper exposed so that the the heat could be rejected out of the wheel face quicker but with less precision.

Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid - rear suspension strengthening
Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid - rear suspension strengthening

Photo by: XPB Images

Rosberg’s suspension failure during FP3 not only put the team under a huge amount of stress to ready the car for qualifying but also led to some ad hoc changes on both cars. Carbon strengthening was placed over the wishbones where they’d previously failed and taped over, to affix them it in place.

Lost amongst the debate surrounding the last-lap crash was the fact that Rosberg’s last stint was compromised by the damage he’d sustained earlier in the race when he collected some of the tyre carcass shed from Vettel’s car.

Whilst not quite as severe as the damage sustained by Hamilton in his first-lap collision with Bottas in Bahrain, which was calculated as costing the Brit around a second a lap, this would nonetheless have had a significant impact on both laptime and tyre wear.

This likely cancelled out the delta between the supersoft Rosberg was shod with and the soft compound used by Hamilton and allowed the latter to close.

Ferrari

Ferrari front brake assembly
Ferrari front brake assembly

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Like Mercedes, Ferrari changed tact when it came to its front brake ducts in Austria, not only because of its apprehension surrounding brake life but because of its usual tactic of heating the hubs on the grid in order to raise the tyre temperatures and pressure.

With the change of protocol for tyre pressure measurement changed, it made this trick irrelevant and so Ferrari didn’t heat the brake drum and components in the the normal way. However, the team did open up the end of the brake drum to allow the heat generated by the brakes to escape out through the wheel face more rapidly.

Ferrari has several aerodynamic updates scheduled for Silverstone, re-using many parts we’ve already seen at other circuits this season as the team looked for their optimum setup around the Red Bull Ring.

However, it did introduce an update for the internal combustion unit, spending another of its development tokens doing so. This coincided with a new fuel blend developed by Ferrari's technical partner Shell, in order to increase performance and fuel economy.

Red Bull

Red Bull Racing front wing
Red Bull Racing front wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull finally admitted it had introduced its slightly shorter nose in Montreal and had run it ever since.

The difference in the nose length, which is only 15mm shorter than its predecessor, is almost imperceptible to the naked eye but will have an affect on the airflow, both allowing more air under the nose and, most importantly, changing its relationship with the ‘neutral’ section of the mainplane below it.

Force India

Force India VJM08 front wing, Austrian GP
Force India VJM08 front wing, Austrian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Force India’s ‘B’-spec upgrade has been a revelation since its introduction in Spain, catapulting the team toward those at the front of the grid. However, there is no time to stand still and Force India revised the front wing in Austria in order to cater for the very different circuit demands.

The two upper flaps were shortened and their tip shape changed in order to alter how they influence the Y250 vortex, which is shed from the flapped section and neutral mainplane juncture below them. The length of the flaps used previously is highlighted in yellow on the illustration above.

Haas

Interestingly, Haas, having adopted the complexity of the blown axle for its maiden season, decided to blank it off for the first time in Austria.

We’d had word that some teams, including Haas, may adopt this tactic in Baku with brake temperatures marginal given the disparity between the long straights and tight twisty second sector.

 

Haas VF16 brake duct
Haas VF16 brake duct

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The carbon fibre insert (arrowed) prevents airflow usually collated by the main brake duct inlet and passed through the hollow axle from escaping in the usual way.

Instead, the inlet, which remains the same size, can now pass additional cool air to the brakes, assisting at a circuit that puts huge energy into the brakes and leaves little distance between them to provide respite.

shares
comments
Vasseur appointed team principal as Renault tweaks structure
Previous article

Vasseur appointed team principal as Renault tweaks structure

Next article

Manor won't "sit back" after first point of 2016

Manor won't "sit back" after first point of 2016
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021