@marnypopis I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be there without a reason. I'm not convinced it's the silver bullet some people seem to be suggesting, but it's an interesting development and it's not immediately obvious what its purpose is.
Stroll sets a new fastest time of the morning with a 1:26.450. Nothing to write home about, but it's still a bit overcast here and the teams are still working through their early checks and changes.
@mohijit, Maybe, but BMW have not sounded so keen since they left the sport at the end of 2009.
We have our first red flag of the day. Stroll had a spin in the Williams and had to get it pointed in the right direction again before the session was green flagged.
It looked like Turn 9, which is a pretty serious corner in these cars, but he managed to finish the spin still on the tarmac, so no obvious damage done.
@Keith Money is the issue! The hope is that more will bring a return to the midfield. In 2012 they were still challenging for podiums, but since then a lot has changed - both in the team and the sport. The team now has new owners, so I guess they will be looking to push it back up the grid in the next few years in the hope of a fairer Concorde Agreement post 2020.
@Siddhesh, I don't believe it was for that reason. And if it was I very much doubt it will work as they planned.
@Yoseph It seems that way. I haven't had a chance to study photos, but the Mercedes definitely has a very long wheelbase. A longer wheelbase means a longer floor, which if you can get it working correctly, means more downforce. That's why we've seen so much attention on the bargeboard area this year, because that is essentially channeling the air to the underfloor of the car. The other thing to look out for is the amount of rake the cars are running - the angle of the floor in relation to the car. Red Bull went extreme with that last year and appear to be doing the same this year to maximise the performance of the diffuser. Ferrari also appears to be running a high rake angle. The trick there is sealing the sides with clever flow structures so that the air does not seep out from underneath the car and away from the diffuser. It's often why you see so much detail on the floors of the car.
Kvyat is on track in that stunning Toro Rosso right now along with Vandoorne in the McLaren.
@mfbull, I'm not going to rule anything out. One theory is that it's being used to duct cooling further down the car, but my guess is as good as yours at this stage.
@Sharee That's an good observation. We didn't get a media session with Vettel after yesterday's laps and I've not seen a press release. Maybe this is a new approach and the team is trying to keep expectations low rather than play them up...
@Divij As far as I know they are all trying to do the same thing - tidy up the airflow towards the rear wing. The effect on performance isn't that great, but it's one of those things most teams believe is worth the effort. Mercedes is the intriguing one as we saw it has an opening on top. I'd guess that's some kind of cooling duct, but that is a complete guess at this stage. I believe Mercedes were particularly keen to work on cooling over the winter as that's one of the main reasons they wanted to test in Bahrain.
@Victor, I'm not entirely sure which bit you mean, maybe the brake ducts? Ferrari was running blown wheel nuts on the car yesterday, which require extra ducting on the brake ducts to feed air through the open wheelnut in an attempt to manage the flow around the front tyres and further down the car.
@Sharee Possibly a tiny bit louder, but you can still stand trackside without the need for earplugs. If anything the noises of the engines are closer to each other this year. The Honda used to be the one that stood out from the crowd, but even that sounds closer to the others this year. If you're coming to a race this season, don't expect anything that different to the last few years.
@By Cin Nope, it's just a testing thing for drivers with less than two races experience.