February 01, 2011

F1Pr0n: MegaPr0n 2011

Over the past two days, seven F1 teams brought out their cars for the 2011 season.  Unfortunately, only one, Sauber, actually bothered to take glamour shots for our perusal.  They, of course, got a F1 Pr0n entry all to themselves.  Lotus released a couple of grainy and poorly exposed pictures and some computer renderings of their new car, so they don't get nuthin' until it hits the track on Wednesday. 

But Renault, Williams, Mercedes, Red Bull and Toro Rosso?  They get to share a post... the first ever F1 MegaPr0n!

We'll start with the team that got the least amount of worthwhile photos, Toro Rosso.

As near as can be told, the STR6 is merely an evolution of last year's chassis, which was, in effect, a Red Bull RB4 taken in a different direction than the parent team's chassis, the RB6.  That's hardly a bad thing, considering that the RB5 fought tooth and nail with Brawn for the constructor's championship.  Still, I was hoping for something a smidge more exciting from the Red Bull "B" team.  It's a lower nose than that being copied by... well, just about everybody.  It's possible that Toro Rosso is running an interim design, one that uses pieces from last year's car, until the whole package is complete and tested.  Of course, they might be trying to step out of the shadow of the "A" team, too.  Might be interesting, that.  On the whole though, it looks pretty vanilla, or at least as vanilla as any F1 car can look.  I'll pay attention to the car over the next few weeks and if there's any major change I'll let you know.

Next up, 2010's Disappointment of the Year, Mercedes!

First off, I love the new paint job.  Last year's all-silver livery was historical, a hearkening back to the "Silver Arrows" of Mercedes' past, but it was a little dull.  The addition of the Petronas green livens it up a bit.  As far as the chassis, named the MGP-W02, goes, that nose reminds me somewhat of a platypus' bill.  It's certainly higher than the W01's, though.  Sidepod inlets are huge, but a triangular shape as opposed to the rectangular of last year's.  Is that because the designers are trying to move away from the BrawnGP design?  Or just an inevitable design evolution?  Kinda hard to tell from this photo, truth be told.  I suppose we should get used to rollouts like this, as opposed to the high-end, no-expense-spared affairs of the past.  Darn shame, though.

Our next entry comes from the World Champions themselves, Red Bull!

If there was one chassis I wasn't looking forward to seeing, it was the new RB7.  I mean, let's face it: the RB6 was the best car all season; on those few occasions it didn't win, well, it wasn't usually the fault of the chassis.  With uber-aerodynamicist Adrian Newey on the payroll, it's not like there were going to be many external changes. 

And indeed, there aren't.  Oh sure, there's a new thing on the centerline of the rear wing, which I assume is part of the actuator for the new movable bits, but otherwise?  Pretty much the same.  Sidepod intakes look to be a smidge smaller, but it's really difficult to tell: black on dark blue does not visibility make.  I'm sure there's something different, perhaps many somethings, but my guess is that they're all internal.

Speaking of black on dark blue, allow me to present the Williams FW33.

I really do hope they keep the car number in a white circle like that on the real livery; this is just the testing color scheme.  I'm going to do something I've avoided this year... I'm going to post a picture of last years' car for comparison purposes.

Sharper downward turn on the nose, angled strut connecting the front wing to it as well.  The thing that lept out at me instantly, though, was the sidepod.  It's definitely more graceful in the FW33, more angled across the top where the FW32 was rounded.  I'm sure some of that is due to the dark color preventing details from coming out, but not all.  The rear wing is different as well, with a notch taken out as opposed to the whole upper-rear corner (if you get what I'm talking about).  It's a bunch of subtle differences that, to me, add up to a chassis that's more pleasing to the eye... or maybe it's the livery, I dunno.

Speaking of liveries, it's time to bring out the best-damn-lookin' paintjob of the year.

Renault this season will be more correctly known as Lotus-Renault, for reasons that are much too confusing to get into here, and this livery is a tribute to the classic Lotus "John Player Special" livery used from 1972 to 1986... and my all-time favorite to boot.  It's certainly better than the bumblebee colors used last year.  And while the body seems pretty normal, there's something very clever going on with the R31... very clever indeed.

As you're all aware, the trick diffusers of the past two years have been outlawed.  No more double diffusers, no more blown diffusers where the exhaust gases flowed directly onto the diffuser, none of that is allowed now.  Of course, that removes a small (or not that small, perhaps) but measurable amount of downforce from the equation.  Now, look carefully at the rear end of the car, right around where the word "elf" is located.  That's roughly where the exhaust pipes should be, yet there are none visible.  Good reason for that: they aren't there.  In fact, there aren't ANY exhaust ports anywhere on the rear of the car.  Instead, Renault has trunked the exhaust to the bottom of the front of the sidepods... where they blow onto and underneath the floor of the chassis.  This introduces faster (and hotter!) airflow under the car, which in turn increases the downforce as it passes beneath the flat bottom, just like an airplane wing induces lift... except opposite, of course.  It's a brilliant idea, and one that Renault deserves to have pay off big.  Of course, there are potential problems here.  Extra cooling and insulation will be needed around the pipes, since F1 engines kick out exhaust gases at approximately 800°C.  Instead of going right out the back, now the piping is running around such things as the fuel tank, the radiators and the electronics... none of which play well with high heat.  Look for the chassis to perhaps have overheating problems in Bahrain, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.  But it might just be worth it, considering how clever the idea is.

So that's it for the F1 MegaPr0n!  The real Lotus should be taking the track on Wednesday, and with any luck we'll get some good pics of that challenger.  Check back tomorrow!

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January 31, 2011

F1 Pr0n: Sauber C30

Of the three rollouts today, only Sauber released studio glamour shots of their steed, so let's give them the attention they richly deserve!

Yes I know, that's not a studio shot.  Well, they didn't do a studio shot of the nose.  We take what we can get 'round these parts.  Again, let's compare to last year's car.  Unlike the Ferrari, the sidepod intakes sure look larger than on the C29... in fact, the sidepods as a whole seem bulkier, at least from the front.  It's a high nose, but that's more of a carryover from the 2010 chassis than a copy of the Red Bull.  However...

...it has more of a droop than the C29.  Maybe it's an optical illusion, but the nose seems more pointy than last year's.  The shark's fin stretching to the rear wing is gone as well.  After looking at the side view, I'm pretty sure the sidepods are bulkier.  That can mean one of two things: one, the KERS unit takes up more space than I expected, or two, they expect to have cooling problems, leading to bigger radiator units (ergo, the larger inlets).  Or something else altogether... it's so hard to tell with a F1 car.  It might be simple aerodynamics, too.

I dunno... I think I prefer the looks of the C30 over Ferrari's F150.  I'm just not sure if that's because it's really a better looking car, or if it's because I despise Ferrari so much.  The addition of sponsor logos is welcome; it might let Sauber actually advance the design during the season.  I was going to comment on the proliferation of Mexican-based business logos (Cuervo tequila, Telmex, Telcel, Claro), until I remembered that Sergio Perez is driving for Sauber this season.  The addition of some color to the livery helps the looks, too.

Of course, looks don't win races... if they did, Lotus would have won every race last year.

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January 28, 2011

F1 Pr0n: Ferrari F150

The offseason is over.  F1 has come back for 2011 with the traditional first rollout of the season, Scuderia Ferrari!  This morning they debuted their new chassis, the F150 (nope, no truck jokes here... yet).  So what does it look like?

Like this:

Pictures of last year's car can be found here, and may be useful for comparison purposes.  Two things immediately leap out at me.  First off, the nose is higher. It's more like Red Bull's 2010 challenger, the RB6, then the Ferrari 2010 car, F10.  Well heck, it worked pretty well for Red Bull last year, and in Formula 1 if it works, it gets copied.  The second thing visible is that the air intakes on the sidepods are more horizontal than last year.  The intake above the driver's head is rounder as well.

Let's take a look at the rest of the car, shall we?

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September 18, 2010

F1 Pr0n First Look: Korean International Circuit

Usually, F1 Pr0n deals strictly with the rollout of the cars for the new F1 season.  However today we've got something special on tap: a whole new circuit.  The Korean International Circuit at Yeongam is due to play host to the first GP of Korea on October 24th, but there's been talk of the place not being finished in time.  Well, I'm here to tell you that it sure as heck looks like the talk is true.  But first, here's the track map:

Okay, let's play "Guess The Track Designer," shall we?  Nah, what's the point, it's pretty obvious that Hermann Tilke's scat is all over the layout.  There is one series of turns that I'm fascinated with on here, Turns 4, 5 and 6.  I'm fascinated because I can't imagine anybody thinking that a hairpin followed by a tight 90-degree turn followed by another 90-degree turn in the opposite direction could possibly make for good racing.

I can see Tilke's design process at work here:  "First let's draw some straight lines.  Then I'll let the cat push a piece of charcoal around the paper.  Okay, that's the layout!"  Remember once upon a time I mentioned how all the good circuits in F1 had a flow to them, how one part of the track should lead to another in a natural, organic way?  Well, the KIC doesn't do that anywhere.  It honestly feels like Tilke set out to avoid that at all costs.

To make matters worse, there's much doubt in my mind as to whether or not the whole place will be finished in the five weeks remaining until race weekend.  "But Wonderduck," I hear you asking, "how do you know that???"  Well, allow me to show you an interesting picture:

This is the view of the main straight from right around where the start/finish line is marked on the trackmap.  That's the main grandstands on the left, the paddock area is to the right.  Does that look even remotely like someplace you'd want to go to to watch a race?  Does that grandstand look like it's completed?  Other structures around the track are much the same, looking like concrete shells with nothing inside, just the exterior walls.  The actual race track asphalt is laid, but the curbs, the runoff areas, everything that allows cars to race safely?  Missing or incomplete.  But don't take my word for it, just take a look at this video.

The race organizers and Red Bull had a demonstration run a couple of weeks ago using the 2008 Red Bull chassis and the FIA's super-hard demo tires.  Surprisingly, Cowboy Karun Chandhok was the driver (the usual RB drivers weren't allowed to run, as it'd be an unfair advantage, I guess).  The FIA and Hispania Racing, Chandhok's normal team, let him do it, which is a pretty clear indicator that we won't be seeing him again this year.  I can only imagine what he must have felt, actually getting into a real F1 car and being allowed to turn some laps. 

Anyway, watching that video just confirmed all my opinions from the track map: it looks like disaster-in-the-making, as far as racing goes.  Now driving the circuit looks like it'd be a blast, but that's not the same as racing around it.

We'll see in about five weeks.  Stay tuned.

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March 05, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Hispania Racing Team HRT

Okay, here's the moment you've all been waiting for: more pictures of the HRT HRT (yes, that's really it's name)!

Okay, the first thing I can say is that this car is going to be able to outbrake anything on the planet.  Look at the size of those brake ducts!  Merciful Monza, those things are huge!  They'd be able to ingest a watermelon!

Then there's that front wing.  Yesterday I called it "simple", and now I'm going to go a little bit farther and call it "really simple."  I can make a more complex curve with a sheet of 3/4" plywood... and a plain sheet of plywood would probably create more downforce.

Let's look more, shall we?


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March 04, 2010

F1 Pr0n Sneak Peek: Hispania Racing Team HRT

The last team to join the F1 ranks has finally dragged its car into the spotlight.  Hispania Racing Team, once known as Campos Meta, gave a more-or-less rollout for their vehicle this afternoon.  And here it is:

Um.  Well.  I have to say that I'm not exactly enamored of the color scheme but as someone once said, "paint doesn't win races."  This is currently the only picture of the chassis floating around out there, so let us try and figure out what we can from it. 

The first thing I notice is the front wing, which could charitably be called "simple."  No complex curves, no movable elements surely, just a basic downforce-producing design.  The nose, and indeed much of the rest of the car, reminds me very much of Virgin's VR-1.  Considering the Dallara influence on that chassis (Nick Wirth, Virgin's technical designer, worked with the manufacturer on their IRL cars), and that Dallara built this one, it's not surprising.

Not much else really stands out in this picture, though.  Hopefully we'll see more soon, because we sure won't be seeing much of it during the races.  With the end of the final test session in Barcelona last week, F1's testing ban is now in place... so the first time this car will turn a wheel will be in Bahrain's 1st Friday Practice session! 

More when it becomes available.

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February 13, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Lotus T127

British Racing Green is back in Formula 1 with the reveal of the new 2010 Lotus T127 on Friday!

Reportedly there are a lot of ex-Toyota people working for the Malaysian-based team, which could explain why the nose reminds me of Toyota's TF109.  Not the wing, but the vertical mounting and the nose cone itself.  One thing we haven't seen yet with this season's debuts are these sidepods.  The tops are dead flat on the Lotus, as opposed to swooping or curved; interesting look, this.


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February 10, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Red Bull RB6

And so last year's runner-up has finally brought their challenger to the track, and how does it stack up?

Um... it's pretty much the same.


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February 09, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Force India VJM-03

Force India was my choice for "most improved" team last year, so I've been eagerly awaiting their 2010 charger.  Would they make radical changes?  Gently evolve?  Leave the car be?
The answer turns out to be "evolve."  Nothing shocking here; the only real changes are those prescribed by the rule book.


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February 03, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Virgin Racing VR-1

The virgin Virgin Racing team debuted their first car online today, and it's different...

Touted as the first F1 car designed entirely in computer with zero wind tunnel testing, the VR-01 appears to have some roots in the IRL.  Which makes perfect sense, considering that Virgin's technical designer, Nick Wirth, did a lot of work with Dallara on their IRL chassis.  Specifically, that nose!  Mosquitos have wider probosces.  Compare the VR-01's needle-point nose to the humongous beak on the Renault, for example.


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February 01, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Toro Rosso STR5

In many ways the Toro Rosso STR5 has been the car I've been most looking forward to.  This is the first time the team has had to field an original design, as opposed to being a "client chassis" of the parent Red Bull team.  This puts them in an interesting position of being an experienced F1 team, but never having built their own car.  The question in my mind was how inventive they would be.

The answer turned out to be "not very."  It's essentially an updated STR4, which was the safe way to go for a relatively small team with an all-new design staff.


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F1 Pr0n: Williams FW32

Williams rolled out their new car at the first test in Valencia, and it's... conventional.

High nose with just a small downward angle.  Larger sidepod intakes. Pretty vanilla.


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F1 Pr0n: Mercedes MGP-W01

Mercedes brought out their 2010 steed today, and it's pretty clear why they didn't want to roll their car out first.  It's got some interesting things in it, things that we haven't seen before!

No glamour pics, I'm afraid.  Reportedly, this chassis has been worked on (as the Brawn BGP-02) since the 2009 "summer break", so they've already filed off the rough edges.  It's a high nose (though not as high as some), with a serious nod to last year's Red Bull RB5 in that it copies the "V-nose" concept.  You'll note the raised edges, which in the MGP-W01 run all the way back to the cockpit.  The sidepod openings are huge in comparison to those in the McLaren or Ferrari.  The really innovative bit, however, is the air intake above the driver's head.  The structure serves two purposes on a F1 car: it gets air to the engine (ergo the name) and it acts as a roll bar to protect the driver in case the car ends up upside down.  In the past, the entire thing has been protective, built up out of carbon fiber to meet the required strength.  In the Mercedes, however, there is a thick vertical support on the centerline of the airbox that serves the same purpose.  The inlet is, in effect, split into two and is considerably larger as a result.


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January 31, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Renault R30

Renault also rolled out their new car, the R30, today... and there are a few surprises.

It's the first of the 2010 racers to have a low-slung nose.  The idealist would suggest that they've found that it's better than the high nose.  The cynic, however, will say that all the prevaricating over coming back that Renault did last year prevented them from doing enough design work to discover the possible benefits of the high nose.  The sidepod air intakes are larger and lower than the other new releases as well.  The front wing is pretty generic, but that'd be easy to change.


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F1 Pr0n: Sauber C29

It was a low-key debut, but SauberF1 brought out their new car today.  I think they're a little behind schedule, however.

The aerodynamics have got to be awful.

Okay, okay, click below for the real pictures.


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January 30, 2010

F1 Pr0n Sneak Peek: Williams FW32

Not a full F1 Pr0n entry as the car hasn't yet officially debuted, but the Williams took their new car, the FW32, out for a pre-test shakedown run at Silverstone a couple of days ago.  Y'know, "kick the tires, make sure everything stays in one piece, turn a few burn a few," that sort of thing.  It was supposed to be a secret thing, not for public consumption.

Autosport Magazine was there:

And two guys with a camcorder were there, too:

Of course, the car could still change between now and the first test session on Monday, but there's that high nose again!  The front wing seems pretty high off the ground, but look at the tires: those are full wet treaded; a weather-related high downforce setup?  Maybe Williams doesn't have the final nose on there? 

We'll find out for sure on Monday.

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January 29, 2010

F1 Pr0n: McLaren MP4-25


From the front, McLaren's 2010 challenger doesn't seem too different from the 2009 car.  The nose is higher, but the betting line is that that'll be the norm this season (with the wider front tires last year, the lower nose allowed more ballast to be placed up front.  This season's narrower tires will require a better balance all-round, so the high nose won't hinder anything).

It's when you look at the side view, though, that you realize that we're looking at rolling artwork as much as high-speed racer...


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January 28, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Ferrari F10!

It's finally time!  The 2010 F1 rollout season is here, and as is traditional, Scuderia Ferrari has the position of honor.  They debuted their new chassis, the F10, this morning.  And here it is:

At casual glance, it looks pretty much like last year's car, but let's take a comparative glance at the 2009 F60, shall we?

The first thing that leaps out you is the sidepods.  On the F60, they go straight across the top, but the F10 is curved, bulging at the outsides.  The nose wing is subtly different as well.  The middle element on the new car, where the Santander logo picture is located, just stops when it reaches the inner limit.  On the F60, they slope down to the limit point.  The air intake has changed, with a more squashed appearance in comparison to the 2009 car.  Other changes are visible on the rear wing and where the sidepods meet the monocoque; look at the Ferrari logo and you'll see what I mean.


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January 25, 2010

Not Quite F1 Pr0n... Yet

Today, Mercedes-Sauber F1 debuted... their paintjob.

The idea behind the livery is that it's a throwback to the original "silver arrows" of Mercedes.  Back in the day-- if the day you're talking about is 1934 or thereabouts-- the Mercedes team was going to join the  Eifelrennen, but their car was too heavy for the weight restrictions.  So the night before, the team sanded all the paint off, leaving just the silver chassis behind. 

And a legend was born.  Today's paintjob is meant to pay tribute to that one (which really wasn't a paintjob).  The car is (obviously) silver, but has part of it "sanded off", revealing the black carbon fiber underneath (not really, it's just paint, but run with it, okay?).  The greenish-blue on the leading edges of the nose and other places is the color of Petronas, the team's major sponsor.

The chassis this paintjob (actually, vinyl decal, but let's go with paintjob) is on isn't the 2010 MGP W01, but last year's Brawn car.  We should be seeing the new car later this week, when the first FIA practice session begins.  So stay tuned!

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June 09, 2009

Wow. Just... wow!

Now this is impressive as all heck:

Twenty-frickin'-two Ferrari F1 cars!  Taken in 2003 at the 10th Annual Modena Motorsport Ferrari Track Day at the Nurburgring, the front row features the 1949 Ferrari 166, the F2001, and the 500/625.

Good lord, what that lineup must have SOUNDED like rolling onto the grid... and yes, I'm sure they were mostly pushed up there, I don't care, don't spoil the dream, okay? 

Motorsports heaven.

And this is coming from a Ferrari hater.

(original 3000x2000 version available here)

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