For the first time in a long time teams have problems with lowering the weight of the car below the minimum weight, and it is particularly surprising that even top teams such as Mercedes and Red Bull have probems to lower the weight of their cars below the minimum weight.
Last year, the cars had to weigh at least 702 kilograms with drive, but due to wider tyres, wider bodywork and more aerodynamic devices minimum weight has been increased to 728 kilograms.
It seems that this increase in minimum weight wasn’t enough for the teams to have their cars below the minimum weight limit and achieve the minimum weight limit using the balast.
In the mid 2000s the best teams have used up to 150 kilograms of ballast to achieve the minimum weight of 605 kiograms with the driver, but things became complicated since 2014 when the cars were equipped with complex power units with energy recovery systems and larger and heavier cooling systems.
But the situation this year has become even more dramatic so even the top teams like Mercedes and Red Bull are struggling with the weight of the car, and Sergio Perez revealed that he was on an extreme diet before the start of the season to at least slightly reduce the excess of the combined weight of car and driver.
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One of the reasons why the teams are struggling with weight are faster cars which require stronger components that need to withstand the increased loads that the cars are exposed during extremely high speeds in corners and on braking with cars exceed lateral acceleration of 8g.
The new Mercedes W08 is still around five kilograms heavier than the minimum weight which is worth up to two tenths of a second per lap with increased tyre usage.
Also, Mercedes didnt’ help themselves with the fact that they have the longest car in Formula 1 that allows them to have an extremely narrow rear end and a larger space behind the front wheels that aerodynamins engineers can use to manipulate the airflow in this area.
This is the reason why Mercedes is still not using the latest version of their ‘miraculous’ interconnected front suspension, and the same thing goes for the Red Bull.
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FIA forced Mercedes and Red Bull to change their suspension systems because they felt they are designed with the sole objective of gaining an aerodynamic advantages, but Christian Horner says they wouldn’t use it anyway as they are on the limit of minimum weight.
“The suspension system that was outlawed was something that we looked to develop over the winter,” said Horner.
“And, to be honest with you, even if we had the ability to run it, it wouldn’t earn a place on the car because of the weight involved.”
“We are running effectively as we’ve run in previous seasons.”
Red Bull, Mercedes and Force India are certainly not the only teams struggling with the weight of their cars but for now they didn’t mention it publicly.