We are all about to embark upon a new season of Formula 1 in just under 40 days. Very exciting indeed for any Formula 1 fan !!! I for one can't wait for the season to begin.
Before we start focusing on all the new car launches for 2011 wouldn't it be good to know some of the significant changes that one can expect in the coming season ?
In this article I would like to briefly outline the major changes in 2011 vs 2010
Bridgestone withdrew from Formula 1 at the end of 2010 and Pirelli was chosen as the exclusive Tyre supplier for Formula 1 in 2011
Any knowledgeable Formula 1 fan would know how important tyres are in Formula 1. It can make or break a season for a team/driver and the car's suspension and aerodynamics are so often designed around the characteristics of the Tyre.
Teams have had one initial test with the Pirelli tyres and the initial impressions are that they could provide more exciting racing for 2011 as the rubber is slower and degrades faster. We can expect a lot of drivers complaining about struggling to setup the car to extract performance from the Pirelli's.
Kinetic Energy Recovery System(KERS) has been reintroduced into F1 after it was shelved for the 2010 season. KERS is used to store a moving vehicle’s kinetic energy which is otherwise wasted when the vehicle is decelerated. This energy can then be used to give a driver around 80bhp extra per lap.
The problem teams faced in 2009 with the KERS system was that it was quite expensive to develop and too heavy. Some drivers who were heavier than others were at a major disadvantage due to this.But the FIA has since changed the regulations to raise the minimum weight which will encourage the use of KERS.
In 2009, McLaren's KERS system was far superior to the others systems. So it would be interesting to see as to how the other teams have caught up
Movable Rear Wings
This aerodynamic and mechanical change has been introduced to aid overtaking in Formula 1. Drivers will be allowed to adjust their rear wing once they are within a second of the car in front. By moving the rear wings a driver can control the amount of drag experienced by the car and hence could result in some exciting racing where drivers will look to slice and dice through corners and straights.
A lot of people are a bit apprehensive about the introduction of this change, but I bet that this change will make Sunday's race a much more thrilling and nerve wracking experience for all the Formula 1 fans around the world.
This season brings an end to the Double Diffuser saga. The double diffuser that contributes heavily to the down-force of a car has been banned for 2011.
This will mean that teams will have to be innovative in coming up with solutions at the back of the car that would help recover the performance of the missing double diffuser.
The innovative but controversial F-Duct that manipulates airflow to the rear wing to stall it and increase top speed on the straights has been banned this season.
Although drivers will not have to cover vents in the cockpit with their hands, they are bound to be kept busy with all the movable components of the car's aerodynamics.
That sums up the major rule changes this year and we await the first race in Melbourne to see which team has played its cards right.
Will Ferrari or Williams' aggressive aerodynamic and mechanical design strategy pay off? Will Adrian Newey come up with yet another brilliant design? Will the guys at McLaren find another innovative device like the F-duct? Has Ross Brawn re-shuffled his troops to ensure maximum efficiency at Mercedes GP? Can James Key get Sauber to run strongly in the midfield this season just like he did with Force India? Can Kubica's dedication and attitude inspire the engineers at Lotus Renault to produce a race winning car?
Right now there are a plethora of unanswered questions which will be answered to an extent during the few tests we have before the season starts, but will be fully answered only once we get to the first grand prix in Melbourne.
Fingers crossed.I like any other Formula 1 fan wish to see another enthralling season in 2011.
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