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cavallino

Force India pushing development on 2008 car

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http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/68595

This is a link to a story on Autosport where Mike Gascoyne has said that FI will be testing some major upgrades to the car.

A Red Bull and Renault style shark fin engine cover will be the most visible of the aero upgrades. And the other will be an "inerter" damper system.

I may be wrong but it seems like this is a bit of desperation from the team. Especially when you consider the team has fallen way short of Mallya's target of the team making it to Q2 60% of the time in the first half of the season, and haven't been anywhere near the target of both cars getting to the finish in 95% of the races.

Given the confidence with which the team had stated that they were ahead of Honda in terms of performance and equal to Toro Rosso at the final pre-season test, they probably would have planned on not pushing development on 2008 too far. Now that Honda is making it to Q2 and scoring points and STR has taken a big leap with the STR3, any thoughts of looking ahead must have gone out the window.

So I get the feeling that this is a bit of a drastic move on the team's part that could hurt the way they start 2009. I hope I'm wrong and that they grab the chance at parity with the midfield runners thanks to the new regs and budget cap but given their prior statements, it doesn't seem like it. Fingers crossed.

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does the team have an active wind tunnel facility... i dont think so given their current budget... Toyota is one of the highest spenders in the business but i wonder if Team Force India has the facility...

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CFD stands for Computational Fluid Dynamics. In engineer speak it means to use algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flow. In plain speak, it means using mathematical formulae to improve the flow of a fluid (in F-1 that fluid is the air that moves over the car and its aero components).

CFD is the reason why teams like Ferrari and McLaren have full scale wind tunnels that run 24/7 where super geeks try and figure out how to best increase downforce on a car while minimizing drag.

Ever since the FIA introduced grooved tyres in 1998 to try and slow down the cars, teams have been trying to compensate for the mechanical grip lost by concentrating on aerodynamics. It is the reason why F-1 cars do not have clean lines anymore. Just look at the 2000 spec McLaren MP4/15 and compare it to the 2008 spec MP4/23. The cars nowadays are covered in what in F1 circles is known as "aero clutter".

This is why even teams like Force India have had to invest so heavily in CFD research (and since from 2009 slick tyres will return and downforce will be cut by 50%, they need to study how exactly to achieve that and maximize downforce within these regulations). In this regard, Mallya has used his contacts with Airbus (who supply planes for his airline) to get some work done in the CFD department.

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No problem. There was an interview with both Mallya and Gascoyne in F1 Racing where they had mentioned this. Off the top of my head, I can't remember which issue(s) it was. But try to find it, its a good read.

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