Mark Webber and blown diffusers
8th November 2011, 16:24 at 4:24 pm #130466
Just something I’ve noticed and feel was worth noting. I think there still could be hope for Webber to have a strong season next year, due to the ban on the off throttle exhaust blowing.
Last year there was a lot of talk about how the EBD favoured Mark’s driving style over Vettel’s, leading to the close battle between the two throughout the season. This is supported by the British Grand Prix this year, where the off throttle exhaust blowing was banned for one race, and suddenly Mark took pole and almost had the beating of Vettel in the race. It was mentioned again today in an interview with Mark on the Autosport website.
Here’s hoping! :)8th November 2011, 16:53 at 4:53 pm #184432
Basically there are 3 states you need to take note of.
1. Aero-neutral exhausts – when the exhausts are nowhere near the diffuser, and are basically like they were in 2009; they didn’t affect downforce
2. EBD, without overrun blowing (basically Silverstone. The exhaust is only blowing gasses out when your foot is on the throttle. This makes the car sensitive because when you’re lifting your foot from the throttle, downforce decreases all of a sudden)
3. EBD, with overrun blowing (what we’ve had for the season except Silverstone. In this case because the exhaust gasses are coming out regardless of how much throttle you’re giving, it is basically the same as Case 1, except you have more downforce in slow corners, where you’re not usually flat out)
Case 2 is what the REd Bulls had up to Valencia 2010. Mark understood that the downforce production was directly linked to how much throttle you put in; so he changed his driving lines and driving style in order to maximize the length of time he was on throttle. Seb never changed his driving style as such.
In effect, what basically is is that Mark Webber on the whole is just a slower driver; but his special technique in Case 2 helped negate some of Seb’s natural speed advantage. Next year the cars will handle a lot closer to they are now; rather than they did in Silverstone (Case 3 and Case 1 are basically the same, except Case 3 has more slow corner downforce.)
Indeed, you could see Mark was taking very weird lines through corners in 2010. I wasn’t the only one to notice it. Pat Symonds also noticed it and wrote about it in F1 Racing magazine. Mark Hughes (Autosport/BBC F1 analyst) also noticed it. He wrote as such:
At this part of the season, Webber was genuinely able to get more from the car’s exhaust-blown diffuser.
In its initial form, this component required a very specific driving technique to maximise the time on open throttle – which increased the downforce boost from the exhaust plume – and Webber was superb at it, consistently squeezing just that little bit more from it than his team-mate.
Vettel continued to be better at living with a little bit of entry oversteer, and that ability to adapt to the car moving around him was maybe partly why he was not as insistent on adapting his technique to a feature that calmed the rear end as soon as you got on the throttle.
From Valencia onwards however, the Renault engine was running software that retarded the ignition off-throttle, using the extra heat created to maintain exhaust flow to the diffuser even off-throttle.
Suddenly that downforce boost was there even during braking and Webber’s specialised technique was no longer required. That improvement, in other words, took away a key Webber advantage
Unfortunately, it’s not that Seb has an advantage in Case 3, it’s that Mark had an advantage last year.8th November 2011, 17:32 at 5:32 pm #184433
“That improvement, in other words, took away a key Webber advantage…”
…and as a result gave Vettel the advantage over Webber from mid 2010 onwards.
But it was good while it lasted.9th November 2011, 4:34 at 4:34 am #184434
With the technical direction this thread is taking it should be noted that it took away an advantage Webber had over Vettel in terms of maximising a throttle-sensitive diffuser.
It did NOT advantage Vettel as such.
As analogies go, imagine if you will that Vettel and Webber both has a sword and arrow, but last year, Webber’s special technique gave him a dagger too. This year Webber no longer has that “dagger” and so both are on an equal footing
I do apologise for being such a pedant. Being an engineer for years; old habits die hard :P9th November 2011, 10:05 at 10:05 am #184435
I take your point, Raymondu you’re right, however RBR made a change that took away Webber’s “dagger” (trying not to smirk there). Now why would they want to disarm one of their own drivers… seems odd, don’t you think?9th November 2011, 10:37 at 10:37 am #184436
I don’t think the rule changes will help Webber that much. I think that throwing away his championship hopes at Korea and Abu Dhabi is impacting him more than the diffusers.12th November 2011, 7:16 at 7:16 am #184438
It takes away Mark’s advantage over Vettel because the driving now no longer requires a special technique. But even then, Mark’s overall laptime would be quicker now than it was before.
My previous analogy was somewhat wrong. It’s more like Mark had a bow and arrow last year, as did Seb. Seb didn’t have very good aim. Mark did. But then now RBR gave both Seb and Mark a pistol each. So Mark doesn’t get to use the bow and arrow because; why use it anyways? The gun is much more effective.
Yes, I’ve got a thing for cheesy analogies. Shoot me :P
Having said that, Mark’s troubles (in terms of car and driving) this year are not just one thing – they’re a culmination of different things.
Consider this; in 2010; since Valencia Mark Webber has not outpaced Sebastian. Seb has always out qualified and outraced Mark; except for Silverstone (punctured by contact with Hamilton’s left front endplate), Hungary (Seb got a drive through), Belgium (hard to say about qualifying given that Mark was the only one to take the weather seriously – his pole was more of timing than pure outright speed. In the race Seb had the measure of Mark, just that he had a penalty, and had 2 collisions). Monza qualifying is the only time when Sebastian was truly outdone by Mark.
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