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Technology updates at the Spanish GP: The great arms race in Barcelona

Technical updates at the GP Spain
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D he great arms race started with the GP Spain first round. While the Formula 1 teams toured overseas, the engineers at home worked hard in their think tanks and wind tunnels. All cars came to Barcelona with modifications. But not all new designs worked. Toro Rosso and Caterham had to reverse some of the changes they tried at Mugello. We go through the teams and their upgrades in detail.

Red Bull

The world championship troop brought a new engine fairing to Barcelona. It is completely closed at the back and pulled down to the underbody. The hot exhaust air from the cooler only leaves the cover through the stovepipe at the end of the airbox. Therefore, the slot on the side pods just above the radiators was enlarged. There part of the hot air is immediately discharged.

The exhaust ducts were also fiddled with. The divided baffles under the nose are no longer offset to one another but parallel. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber tried two different versions on Friday. The new one wasn't necessarily an advance. The drivers complained about nervous driving behavior.


The McLaren MP4-27 had the new nose, which is a little thinner and therefore higher above the road. The stilts on which the wing hangs are a little further apart. So more air arrives at the diffuser. The crash test was passed on the first attempt. Two newly designed baffles are attached under the nose. The front wing is also new.

Two vertical fins were attached to each of the side pods. The technicians speak of 'vortex generators'. They create vortex braids that keep the flow backwards in a narrow window. The front brake ventilation has also been modified.


The big update was not as big as expected. We have already seen the inward-pointing exhaust and the associated engine cover in Mugello. Also the rear wing with the modified end plates. A new front wing and a new diffuser were added in Barcelona. Fernando Alonso: 'Clear progress. But the others have also gotten better.'


Michael Schumacher drove the new carbon transmission. Nico Rosberg still had to make do with the old aluminum part. With the carbon transmission, the geometry of the rear axle has also changed. EverythingTake care of the tires. The new front wing with its pylons and engine cover have already been shown in Mugello.


The technicians in Enstone have completed a new front wing in an effort. It's a new twist on the grand piano that didn't work when it premiered in Shanghai. Especially on the end plates, a lot of hands were put on again. There were also new brake drums.


Williams had tried three exhaust variants in Mugello. The standard one that is flush with the engine cover and aims inward. A McLaren copy and a variant in which the tailpipes emerge from a fold on the outside of the side panel. Version number three was used in Barcelona. Plus the new rear wing with four fringes at the lower end of the end plates.

Force India

There were only two kits of the new McLaren exhaust. Instead, there were plenty of front wings lying around in the Force India box. Four sentences each from the old and the new. The new one came to the car. The simulations promised a time gain of half a second.


Sauber had already shown his facelift in Mugello. Front wings, baffles, engine cover, exhaust and underbody were new. At Sauber, too, one speaks of a time gain of half a second. 'Unfortunately, the progress is not always as great as previously calculated in the simulation,' team boss Peter Sauber drew a first interim conclusion.

Toro Rosso

The McLaren-like exhaust stayed in the box. Toro Rosso drove again with the old variant, in which the tailpipes emerge in front of the front wishbones of the rear axle. The struts deflect the exhaust gases downwards towards the diffuser. The front wing and diffuser were new for this.


The new McLaren-style exhaust was left at home in the factory with the engine cover. The modified braking system also failed the endurance test in Mugello. Only one of the two new rear wing variants made it to the car in Spain.


The changes were barely visible. Little things on the front wing and the diffuser. The computer speaks of four tenths of a time gain. The rear crash structure and the entire braking system on Timo Glock's car were replaced.


HRT also worked on the car. The team had to skip the test drives in Mugello due to the move to the new factory in Madrid. The new front wing only has a one-piece flap instead of the two-piece version from the start of the season.

You can find all important updates from Barcelona in our photo gallery.


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