With this week’s final pre-season giving all of the teams the final opportunity to really experiment with aerodynamic and mechanical concepts, many teams have arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya with substantial upgrades to try out on their respective 2011 challengers.

Renault R31 exhaust Ferrari F150 exhaust Williams FW33 exhaust Mercedes GP W02 exhaust
Different (exhausting) interpretations (L-R): Renault; Ferrari; Williams and Mercedes GP

And with the ban on double diffusers and stricter rules governing the limits of flexible bodywork, the focus this year seems to be on the positioning of the engine exhausts, particularly after Renault launched its R31 challenger with innovative forward-facing exit points.

Several teams, it would seem, have taken a leaf out of the team’s book, arriving in Barcelona with substantial revisions to the placement of their own exhausts, with Mercedes GP, Williams and Ferrari already snapped and showing substantial revisions to the original placement of their exhaust exists.

Ferrari seem to have followed the path of Red Bull in housing their exhaust exits at the rear of the car inside the rear axle, while Williams and Mercedes GP have opted for side-facing exhausts positioned near the radiator intakes of their respective cars.

The question that will keep everyone guessing will be who’s design concepts – and indeed, the entire package – works best…

[Original images via Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.