Second upgrade package

Posted on: 31st Jul 2009

What a fascinating F1 season so far this year. In the early races, the likes of Renault, Ferrari and McLaren were blown away. Halfway through the season and we’re watching an exceptionally competitive race with the early season domination of Brawn reversed; at least for the moment. Renault has not had much of a mention since Hamilton’s win but their pit-stop fiasco may well have denied Alonso his first podium of 2009. So, by the halfway stage we have Brawn and Red Bull at the top of the points table but McLaren, Ferrari and Renault on the rise and we’re left wondering if Brawn can reverse their trend and save Jenson Button’s championship chances. It’s all down to each team’s development work between races; the ‘upgrade packages’. The 2009 Red Bull Air Race has a lot more of this going on than in previous years. The stakes are higher; a lot more development work is going on and, tied in with the minimum race weight, the racing is becoming more competitive so there are more podium capable teams. Between Perth 08 and Abu Dhabi 09, we did not have enough time to upgrade the Breitling MXS with all the refinements we had planned. Having the break between Canada and Hungary with the aircraft back in the UK has given us a chance to introduce a second ‘upgrade package’. This is focused mostly on aerodynamics and with several modifications coming online at the same time. Ideally, we’d love to be able to test each one independently to measure the individual effect but time is always the enemy so almost all of them will be in place for the first airtest early next week. Some mods are small and the results would be imperceptible; some are bigger and I’d be disappointed not to see a significant improvement. We may be lucky during the test phase and have enough time to quantify some of the individual changes. Who knows, one or two may not work and one in particular may take more time to be fully tested than the time available. That would be a huge disappointment. Whatever happens, I sincerely hope we will not have a ‘Brawn situation’ where the upgrades produce the reverse effect! If all goes well, we should regain some of the speed we believe has been ‘missing’ all season; have better acceleration from slow speed and less speed wash-off during the high G turns. Dreams are free!