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11 October 2014
Bite Size Tech: Mercedes WO5 Rear Wing & Y100 Winglet - Sochi

Firstly I'll point out that the rear wing and Y100 winglet used by Mercedes (above) during qualifying and will be used for the race are not new, having previously been used the configuration at Spa (Click the link for an explanation of the differences in these wings).
As we can see from FP1 & 2 (above) the team initially setup with a much higher downforce configuration, likely anticipating a higher level of degradation of the tyres for the race.  With tyre wear significantly lower at Sochi than expected and with Williams clearly being able to match them for pace the team opted to run with less downforce, which also means less drag.
Sochi has been branded as a street circuit but in reality it's a purpose built 'Autodrome' around the ex-Olympic park, meaning its design allowed for two extensive straights (rather than being confined to an existing road layout).  These straights of course present the teams with a trade off, requiring good downforce elsewhere, whilst as little drag as possible to attain top speed.  In that respect Spa represents a similar challenge and so it is no surprise that the team decided to utilise that setup.  One thing that does differ though is that in Spa the team removed the Gurney trim from the top flap in order to further reduce drag, whilst in Sochi this remains in place.

It's interesting that the team had the forethought to plan for this and means that, that specification of wing was likely available in Suzuka too, owing to the strict customs in place at Sochi making it difficult to bring updates or fly parts in overnight.
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Bite Size Tech: McLaren MP4-29 Front Wing - Sochi

Updates are particularly thin on the ground in Sochi this weekend, owing to strict customs.  Most teams have openly admitted that they needed to have parts with them in Suzuka for them to make it across to Russia, meaning they may aswell have run them in Suzuka too.
Above: Image courtesy of @McLarenF1

A new front wing has materialized at McLaren (lower wing in the image above) though which outwardly appears very similar to their old design, infact the largest change comes to the mainplanes connection point at Y250 (250mm from the front wings centreline, with the mandated neutral section occupying that area).  The 500mm neutral section of wing has been a playground for teams since its introduction as although it's design is the same for each team, how it interacts with other areas can improve performance.  In previous seasons the teams have also used the camera housings to influence the flow over the neutral section but for 2014 this was eradicated by the introduction of their mandated positioning further upstream on the side of the nosecone.

You'll note that in the case of McLaren's new wing two metal inserts sit either side of the neutral section and are likely being used as a way of controlling how much flex occurs, as the wing deforms under load.  The horseshoe metal inserts are shaped in order to retain how the mainplanes connection with the neutral section creates an elongated vortex.
The team were investigating this in Singapore (above) when they installed a camera on the nose of the MP4-29.  The camera looks across at dots installed in the front wing endplate and measures the amount of movement, indicating where the team are/were losing/gaining performance.

Outbound of the Y250 connection we can also see that the mainplane and how it splits to form the two part flap is also more convex, adjusting how that section of the wing performs with less deformation.  It seems that the team are trying to retain a more stable Y250 vortex assisting the central rearward flow, rather than taking advantage from pivoting/flexing outer elements.
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10 October 2014
Bite Size Tech: Toro Rosso STR9 Bargeboards - Suzuka

Having intoduced their new nose design in Suzuka, the team also revsed some additional elements that will make use of the extra mass flow under the nose.
Above: Image AMuS

The bargeboards now feature two slots on the upper egde, much like we have seen on the Red Bull and Lotus in the past.  The slots are added in order to change the flow characteristics of the component, with the additional/cleaner mass flow now entering under the nose, toward the splitter and then onward to the bargeboards needing extra treatment.
Above: STR's bargeboard from Singapore
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