August 31, 2012

F1 Practice: Belgium 2012

They say that the one thing to remember about the circuit at Spa-Francorchamps is that it's either raining or it's getting ready to rain.  So it shouldn't be a surprise that the weather was rather damp for both practices today.  How wet?

The most data the teams got was after the session, when the various drivers went out onto the grid to practice their race starts.  The most laps anybody turned in P2 was five; the fastest lap was 2:49.354.  That's nearing a minute longer than a normal lap pace.  The teams realized that the only things they could learn today was how many pieces they could shatter their cars into, and stayed in the pits.  There are no small offs at Spa-Francopants.  We did learn some things today, though.

For example, a couple of years ago there was something of a conversation about that chalet at the top of Eau Rouge.  Well, during the Legendary Announce Team's Rain Delay Theatre today, we discovered that it's actually a hotel.  Yes, I'd like to stay there.  No, I wouldn't want to pay for it.  Something else interesting:

McLaren has done something interesting with their sidepods; my first thought when I saw this picture was an additional air vent, perhaps to glom more cooling air for the engine, or the radiators, or something.  At least, that's what it looks like from the front.  From the side and back, it becomes much more obvious what's going on:

It's just a modification of the bargeboards, designed to keep airflow ducted over the sidepods.  Aerodynamics are just about everything in F1, and there must be some teeny tiny improvement to be gained from it.  Cost?  "If you have to ask..." 

Quals and the race are supposed to be dry, but remember: at Spa-Francoamerican, it's either raining... or it's getting ready to rain.  See ya then!

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