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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

F1 flexi-floor, wing clampdowns had “zero” function in Singapore struggles

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Having dominated the 2023 season to date by profitable each race, Purple Bull discovered itself unable to get one in all its vehicles into Q3 for the primary time for the reason that 2018 Russian Grand Prix. Whereas its tempo was higher within the race, it failed to complete on the rostrum.

That shock change of type got here on the identical weekend that two separate guidelines clarifications from the FIA got here into pressure concerning versatile physique components. 

The primary, identified at TD18, tightened up guidelines concerning versatile wings – and particularly methods of groups to cover moveable mechanisms and intelligent designs that rotated across the nostril. 

The second, which had been extra below the radar, was an up to date model of TD39 that had initially come into play on the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix to assist stamp out porpoising. 

The up to date wording of this directive outlawed methods that groups could have been doing in exploiting allowances concerning flexibility of the ground across the skid block holes. There have been suspicions of some outfits utilizing this to suck their plank and flooring a lot nearer to the bottom at excessive velocity with out it risking being discovered to have worn away an excessive amount of. 

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However regardless of the timing of Purple Bull’s struggles coming precisely when these new TDs got here into play, the workforce thinks it’s crimson herring to recommend that’s the reason it struggled. 

In truth, Purple Bull workforce boss Christian Horner was adamant the squad had made “zero” adjustments to its automotive on account of the brand new FIA stance. 

Requested to clarify the main points about what went improper, Horner mentioned: “It is all engineering stuff. There is not any silver bullets on this enterprise.

“I do know all of you’d like to blame the TD, however sadly we will not even blame that, as a result of it isn’t modified a single part on our automotive.”

Christian Horner, Purple Bull Racing Workforce Principal

Picture by: Purple Bull Content material Pool

Pushed to make clear whether or not the workforce needed to change the way in which it operates any of its parts, Horner replied: “No. Zero.”

Fairly than Purple Bull’s difficulties being linked to the TDs, Horner as a substitute steered the set off for its struggles in qualifying have been associated to set-up, with the workforce having bought it badly improper from the off in Friday follow. 

“We knew coming right here it could be anticipated to have nearer competitors,” he mentioned. “However I feel it took us a bit unexpectedly, simply how far out we have been on Friday.

“I feel that we have been simply not in the appropriate working window for the automotive, notably over a single lap. And while you’re not there, then the tyres really feel horrible. Every thing simply does not work.”

Horner steered that the issue may very well be traced again to the workforce having put itself within the improper window with its pre-weekend simulation runs – with issues notably difficult this 12 months by observe resurfacing that modified the character of the circuit’s bumps and grip ranges.

There was additionally additional issues thrown into Purple Bull’s race preparation when it launched a brand new flooring replace, that ultimately it elected to take away for qualifying as a result of it was undecided if that was a explanation for its troubles.

“I feel that perhaps our simulation earlier than the weekend did not lead us to the appropriate conclusion,” Horner mentioned. “Then you must form of unravel your means out of that.

“I feel we simply ended up within the improper window and it uncovered a few of our weaknesses that the automotive has. However it has really been a really helpful lesson for subsequent 12 months, as a result of it provides us some very helpful perception and sure issues that hopefully we will deal with in our RB20.”

One of many core strengths of the RB19 has been its potential to take care of a predictable aero platform at varied speeds – so it’s extra constant by way of several types of corners.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Max Verstappen, Purple Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Picture by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

The squad’s efficient experience management additionally permits the automotive to run near the bottom at excessive velocity (the place essentially the most downforce is produced) with out bouncing.  With a comparatively excessive stationary experience peak, this means the automotive runs with a gentle suspension which may deliver a number of advantages.

It does endure extra on bumpy tracks although, and there was intrigue on the Belgian Grand Prix earlier this 12 months when it emerged that its drivers have been backing off by way of Eau Rouge within the race to keep away from the automotive bottoming out an excessive amount of.

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Reflecting on the weekend, Purple Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan mentioned that Singapore had uncovered in public some weak point with the automotive that have been already well-known inside the squad.

“We have some inherent issues in it that we will not essentially repair in a race weekend,” he mentioned. “We have made some errors and all of it culminated in us going out in Q2.”

He added: “It is nothing basic however some errors have been made on the way in which, and [there were] some issues we will appropriate into subsequent 12 months. On we go.”

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