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A number of cars this season have adopted the wide 'platypus' nose first introduced by Red Bull. The very high, wide and thin structures may not be aesthetically pleasing, but apparently they work in the wind tunnel, as James Key explains: 'It's a tricky aerodynamic thing. The Sauber C29 had a high nose last year, but a different concept and a different shape. Ever since the 2009 regulations came in, you had this FIA-prescribed centre section of the front wing. It left that area difficult to do much with, as everything there was taking place outwards where the rules allowed it - intricate flaps and bits and pieces on top of the wing to make the air do complex things. These tended to be outwash devices rather than inwash, so the middle of the car ended up with little to interact with but, if you lift the nose up, then at least you are feeding a fresh flow to the middle of the car. It's driven by the centre of the front wing being what it is. In fact, the front wings now tend to out rather than in, which is what they did in 2008.'

Sauber C30 Engine: Ferrari 056 KERS: Ferrari Gearbox: Ferrari

Lotus T128 Engine: Renault RS27 KERS: none Gearbox: Red Bull

Virgin MVR-02 Engine: Cosworth CA2010 KERS: none

Gearbox: Wirth Research / Xtrac systems is siginificant, with only Williams, Ferrari (with Magneti Marelli) and Mercedes (with Zytek) offering F1 -spec units.

'We buy the battery cells from the Far East and assemble them ourselves at Williams,' explains Michael. 'Doing that, there is an amazing difference in cost. If we were to get someone to assemble the battery packs for us, there was no way we could do KERS on that basis. So we employed two people who were trained to build the li-ion battery packs, while the MGU was developed in-house with help of a University. The ECU is fairly standard and made inside Williams, with all of the electronics in house.'

Even once the systems are purchased, teams have to package them into an already crowded space. 'It is a significant thing -there are various approaches to where you can put it,' explains

Key. 'Depending on how you do it, it makes a bigger difference to your wheelbase and powertrain or a bigger difference to your aerodynamics. Without KERS you would have more freedom to play with wheelbase, sidepod shapes and the way the chassis looks, but installing it hasn't been a great drama. The big risk if you decide to use the wheelbase to accommodate it is that with last year's cars you had a big diffuser, so going longer was okay as there was a lot of floor to suck on. But now, with the small diffusers, there is a lot less power, so maybe you want to go shorter.'

Of course, all this is just the start of the development race. The first grand prix of the year, in Melbourne in March, will undoubtedly bring many updates and innovative new solutions. Keep up to date with them at www. racecar-engineering.com w epm: wish all our F1 customers every success in the 2011 F1 championship helping us to celebrate our 15th anniversary.

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