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Championship to be decided where the sport began.

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

With Vettel being on such form this year after 5 race wins, 2 second places out of 7 races and all his championship rivals squabbling amongst themselves taking points off of each other, the title is looking like it’s a done deal for the German. But this is not so. Vettel has had an immense run of luck these past few races while all of his rivals have hit trouble in one way or another. For the past three races it has been easy to see that under race conditions the McLaren has been the fastest car, and out of those three race McLaren have won just one with Vettel taking the other two. In spain Lewis Hamilton clearly had the better package overall but could not past Vettel due to having too short a 7th gear and not enough traction when compared with the German. In Monaco we again saw the McLaren to be the better overall package but this time in the hands of Jenson Button, and it was looking like Vettel was going to get passed due to his tyres being so close to being unusable, but he was saved by the red flag for Petrov’s crash which allowed him to put a new set of tyres on.

It may seem like other driver chances of the championship are depleting rapidly, but we can’t write anyone of the top guys off yet until we witness the events of the British Grand Prix. The FIA announced the other day the hot blown diffusers are to be banned from the Silverstone race onwards. For those of you that do not know what a hot blown diffuser is, allow me to explain it for you. Last year Red Bull positioned there exhausts to blow towards the diffuser and where later copied by all the teams, with the hot energized air from the exhaust going around the diffuser downforce was increased dramatically, but this year what the teams have done is created these trick engine settings which burns fuel in the exhaust pipe while the driver is not on the throttle making the blown diffuser effect last for the whole lap. But the FIA have said this is not aloud as it is a driver controlled aerodynamic device. So from the British GP onwards these engine maps will have to be scrapped and this will have a bigger effect on some teams than others.

Red Bull and Renault are the teams that are set to lose the most from this ban as there exhaust layouts are the most efficient when compared with there rival, but also there engines have reportable been designed with this hot blown diffuser in mind and there is fear from both Red Bull and Renault that getting rid of these engine maps would put there reliability into doubts. Red Bull themselves have said this week there are ready to question the decision to ban these engine maps which shows they are have concerns over how it will effect them. Red Bull where the team to first start doing this with there exhausts and they really don’t want to lose the advantage they have over there rivals who do not yet have a fully optimized system for the cars.

Silverstone will also show how the championship will pan out because it is the next track that is all about raw downforce, and if you have a fast car there you will always almost have a fast car at whatever track you go to. the string of corners from copse all the way to stowe tests a cars downforce levels to the max as you hardly ever have to touch the brakes through those fast sweeping corners in qualifying.

If we now go back to the topic of the ban on hot blown diffusers, Sebastian Vettel has today come out and said that he thinks Renault and Mercedes will be most hurt by the ban because there exhausts are placed the furthest forward. This may be true but Mercedes and Renault are not the two teams challenging Red Bull for the championship. Ferrari and McLaren are those two teams, and when it comes down to the positioning of exhausts Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren have very similar positioning with one very significant exception. Red Bull has a 5cm gap which is where the gas from the exhausts actually end up going and blow along the bottom of the diffuser creating a greater amount of downforce compared to Ferrari and McLaren systems which blow on top of the diffuser. With the hot blown diffuser Red Bull have been able to use there advantage of the 5cm gap for the whole of the lap, not just the parts where the throttle is being applied, which can account for the extra speed that they have over there rivals in qualifying that seems to disappear in the race where the hot blown diffusers can not really be used that much because it would mean you’d need to put a lot more fuel in the car which would make the car a lot slower over a full race distance.

Even if the ban does not effect Red Bull’s performance compared to it’s nearest rivals, there is still a reasonable chance for Vettel’s rivals to beat him because as we’ve seen in recent races Ferrari have caught up and have better pace and we’ve seen McLaren have the fastest race car, it’s just they have not had the luck that Vettel has and have made far more mistakes than the usually faultless German.

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Categories: Race Review