The development race never stops running, and the Turkish Grand Prix will see a host of further updates to many cars on the grid in their to keep – or regain – a competitive advantage over their rivals.
Let’s have a look at some of the updates currently known about…
‘F-ducts’ for Red Bull and Force India; revisions to Ferrari’s system
Both Force India and Red Bull will become the latest – and probably last – of the teams to incorporate the downforce-spoiling ‘F-duct’ solution on their respective cars, which was first pioneered by McLaren, and later adopted by Sauber, Williams, Ferrari and Mercedes GP.
While Red Bull has confirmed that its iteration is still in development and will be tested in Friday’s practice session before its use for the remainder of the weekend is decided upon, Force India’s ‘F-duct’ is seemingly more permanent.
The Vijay Mallya owned operation’s ‘F-duct’ is operated by the drivers blocking the flow of air through the engine cover and rear wing slot gap by covering a hole in the cockpit with their wrists, in a fashion not too dissimilar to the original – and controversial – version used by Ferrari at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Ferrari has since responded to concerns that its device – which when activated, forced the drivers to barely hang on to the steering wheel (pictured left) – by changing it so that Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa now block the passage of air flow with their knees, a la McLaren.
Updated chassis for Lucas di Grassi
One happy man in the paddock will be Lucas di Grassi, with the Virgin Racing driver finally receiving his version of the updated VR-01 chassis with the bespoke larger fuel tank.
Issues with the Icelandic volcano and the short turnaround time between the Spanish and Monegasque Grands Prix meant that di Grassi was stuck with the original small-tank VR-01, while team-mate Timo Glock got first use of the sole updated chassis at the two races.
However, di Grassi will still be penalised from a weight perspective, relative to his team-mate. Despite the lifting of the minimum weight guidelines to 620kg, the taller and heavier di Grassi will be penalised away. The reason for this is that the all-CFD Nick Wirth-designed VR-01 exceeds the 620kg minimum, meaning the car can’t run with any balance-optimising ballast lest it run further overweight!
And need I again question the wisdom of the VR-01 design concepts?
New rear wing for Lotus
Lotus will also be debuting a substantial aero update at Turkey, by rolling our a brand new rear wing design for Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen this weekend, amidst a host of other mechanical and aero tweaks for the T127 chassis.
Of the three debutant teams, Lotus seemingly holds the clear edge on overall performance, and should be encouraged by having considerably reduced the gap to the midfield runners at the Monaco Grand Prix. How much of that was due to the recent updates vs. the nature of the circuit remains to be seen, but Turkey should provide a more representative picture for the form guide.
"We’ll be using our new pillar-mounted rear wing here and have some new parts which will enable us to optimise the weight distribution, so again, I’m quietly confident we’ll bridge the gap to those in front that little bit more," Technical Director Mike Gascoyne said on Thursday afternoon.
We’ll keep you abreast of more solutions as they come to hand!
[Image via Formula1.com]