Monday, 21 April 2014

Fuel conservation key to Hamilton's recent form

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)
Lewis Hamilton's recent run of victory's can be put down to the 2008 world being able to manage his fuel consumption over a Grand Prix distance better than team mate Nico Rosberg. Hamilton's driving style appears to suit the new regulations and as he was out front from start to finish he was in a position which enabled him to push when required and conserve when he needed to.
Nico Rosberg started the race on the back foot as the German was left racing
'blind' as he had no pit to car telemetry which meant that the team had to manually manage his fuel by reading his steering wheel statistics.
While Fernando Alonso finished the race in the third place his team mate Kimi Raikkonen was able to use les fuel in the race as he spent the majority of the Grand Prix in traffic. A lot has been said about the new fuel flow sensors which have been this season by the FIA to regulate team's fuel use over the course of a race distance as team's are limited to using 100Kilo's of fuel.
Red Bull Racing lost their appeal again Daniel Riccardo's disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix after the reigning world champions were found to have contravened the new fuel flow limits. The team claimed that it was as a result of an issue with the FIA supplied sensor.
Sebastian Vettel suffered a similar issue over the course of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. The reigning world champion was once again out performed by his team mate Daniel Ricciardo as the it appears that the Australian has been able to get a better understanding of the new era Formula One and during the Grand Prix yesterday Ricciardo was able to use less fuel and this allowed him to catch and overtake his team mate to finish the event in fourth place.
The new era of Formula One has put a much greater priority on energy systems which can be eventually adapted for use in the development of road cars which has resulted in Formula One becoming more relevant to production cars.
The introduction of the Energy Recovery System means that driver's can use this system to reduce the fuel flow to the engine which makes the engine more efficient. There has been a lot of criticism surrounding the sound the of the new engine's in Formula One this season from fan's and people involved in the sport a like however, it sounds great and has given the sport a more raw sound and it fantastic to be able to hear tyre screeching.
Fuel has also always played a key role in the outcome of Grand Prix and it would appear that Mercedes in conjunction with their fuel partner PETRONAS have been able to produce an engine that is extremely efficient while being able to get the greatest potential from the power unit.
The next few Grand Prix are going to play a key role in the outcome of this year's championship as the high speed nature of the Barcelona circuit coupled with the high air temperatures means that more pressure will be put on the power units, however, the temperatures should not be as high as what we saw in Bahrain two week's ago which was a race that saw Mercedes claim a 1-2 finish.
Another key factor that plays a pivotal role in Mercedes current dominance is the way in which the W05 is packaged and the team have been able to manage the weight distribution perfectly which has enabled Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to run at the front since the start of the race.
Sahara Force India and the Williams Martini Racing Team who are also powered by Mercedes have also been able to utilize the performance of the new Mercedes engine, however Williams appear will be hoping that they will be able to unlock their car true performance potential starting with the next race in Spain.
The different driving styles up and down the pit-lane also plays a big role in car performances and this has seen the likes of Sahara Force India, Williams and Mercedes come to the front while the likes of Lotus and Red Bull Racing have struggled in the early stages of the season.
Of the younger team's, Marussia have the so far had the advantage over the Caterham and this is due to the fact that the Banbury based squad have switched from Cosworth to Ferrari power for 2014 while Caterham are using the Renault power unit. The French manufacturer has struggled since the start of the season and that continued at the weekend as Pastor Maldonado suffered a power unit failure in his Lotus.
The next two race's in Spain and Monaco could play into the hands of Mercedes as the high speed circuit in Spain is very similar to the circuit in Malaysia. While Monaco is a slow speed circuit which should suit Hamilton as he has been able to control both his fuel consumption and the tyre wear of the new Pirelli rubber. The Monte Carlo street circuit has been a successful hunting ground for the Brackley based squad as Nico Rosberg won there last year and could be on for similar result this season.
©Ben Johnston 2014

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