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Formula 1 News - March, 2009
Innovations flow as test period nears end

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Mar.10 (GMM) With sweeping new regulations re-setting formula one teams' focus, the innovations have flown thick and fast at winter test tracks.

At Barcelona, for the final group test of the 2009 pre-season, more new ideas were on display, including a new variety of 'shark fin' engine cover on the Red Bull, and McLaren's radical new floor concept.

The shark fin on the RB5 driven by Mark Webber is the most visibly striking, extending all the way from the top of the roll-hoop air intake to the main elements of the rear wing.

The Red Bull Technology cars are also noteworthy and unique in the way the rear-wing endplates extend nearly all the way to the ground.

The technical boffins were also excited at Circuit de Catalunya by the new undercarriage of the McLaren MP4-24, with a section ahead of the rear wheels 'cut out' in a triangular shape.

Another unique bodywork 'cut out' on the Woking-designed racer can be found in the corner of the rear wing endplate.

Much has been said of McLaren's lack of test pace this winter, culminating in Heikki Kovalainen's spot at the bottom of Monday's timesheets, but test driver Pedro de la Rosa played down the speculation in interview with the Spanish newspaper AS.

"Nobody knows what everybody else is doing in the testing," he said. "We are relaxed and plan many changes before the start of the season."

De la Rosa insists the recent chopping and changing of rear wings does not suggest an inherent problem with the rear of the car.

"We are doing a lot of comparative work with different configurations. What has surprised us is that other teams are not doing the same," he added.

Also interesting is the different interpretations to aerodynamic detail in the area of the rear-view mirrors on the BMW-Sauber, Force India and Ferrari.

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