Super Aguri makes public test debut
F1 new-boys Super Aguri tested their interim car in public for the first time today in Barcelona. As everyone must have read by now, SA are planning to run a pair of modified Arrows A23 chassis fitted with the Honda V8 engine and 2006 regulation-compilant aero, until their definitive car (presumably based on a BAR design) is ready.
Pitpass has a gallery of shots from the Barcelona test and you can see from them that the car is still running it's 2002 aero package. They presumably are just wanting to test their mechanical modifications before they start testing new aero parts. The following is a list of changes that will be required:-
- Raise front wing - outter sections must be 15cm above the reference plane, central 50cm can be a low as 5cm above the reference plane. It is likely given the constraints on the team that they will just shorten the pylons that attach the wing to the nosecone and leave the wing itself as-is. This is what Jordan did at the start of the 2005 season for example.
- Remove lower 5cm of other bodywork between the front wheels. The one new aero rule for 2006 means that bodywork ahead of the mandatory flat-bottom must be 5cm above the reference plane. The Arrows A23 was the most extreme of cars designed when twin-keel suspension was in vogue with it's very high nose and twin keels extending down to the floor level to form a tunnel of sorts. It looks from the photos that the lower part of those keels is an add-on piece that can be changed or removed altogether.
- The silhouette of the engine cover needs to be larger. 2004 saw the introduction of two rules that changed the looks of the cars more than their performance. One of those rules prescribed a minimum area to be occupied by the engine cover when viewed from the side. It looks to me like the A23 doesn't meet current requirements even though it wasn't the most agressively small of designs fielded in 2002. Super Aguri will need to add a fin to the engine cover to bring it up to the regulation size.
- The side channels of the diffuser need to be lowered to the maximum height introduced in 2005 of 125cm. In theory they could just fill in the extra height to comply with the rules, but this would impose an excessive weight and drag penalty. They will want to make a new rear floor section to comply with the current rules. In their favour is that with the diffuser rules now stating that the whole of the floor in that area must be visible from below, a lot of the very intricate designs of the past are no longer possible. Thus, Super Aguri are not placed in such a bad possition.
- The rear wing is all wrong at present. On the A23 it is too far rearward, the endpates are not deep enough and it has three elements (two flaps) in the upper section. It's most likely the team will have to make an all new rear wing. 2004 brought the second of those largely cosmetic rules stating that the rear wing endplates had to occupy a minimum area. It also restricted the upper part of the rear wing to two elements in an effort to reduce downforce. Lastly, in 2005 the whole rear wing had to be moved forward, again in an effort to reduce downforce.