The weekend started out on a high with the structural members of the 2017 frame having been all tacked in during the week! It was a great feeling for everyone in Longhorn Racing, as last year the chassis subteam suffered setbacks that put them off schedule. This year, however, things are progressing as planned. On Saturday, members of the subteam were able to sand the rust from the tubes of the frame in anticipation of starting to fully weld structural elements and tabs. They also began measuring the engine to calculate where on the frame, exactly, they'll need to weld the engine mounts.
The aero team continued work on the end plate test pieces to see how the new carbon fiber process would work. The goal of the weekend is to complete all of the pieces and have them water jetted into their correct shape. Meanwhile, they also started work on the second half of their test wing. The aero subteam is also testing a new process for the wings to create hollow wings this year to decrease the weight of the aero package while keeping the same rigidity.
In the machine shop, the water jet saw more action in the form of the radiator shroud, or a piece of aluminum that connects the radiator to the fan. Once water jetted, it needed to be bent into shape by hand. In addition, the lathes were filled with people manufacturing rod ends. Finally, the team is preparing to take advantage of the CNC machines to manufacture components.
Just because things were busy for the 2017 car doesn't mean 2015 was being neglected. This weekend, more work was being done to get 2015 back to running condition. Of the changes being enacted on the car, one of them is a change in the position of the differential. This means that the engine also needs to be moved. Therefore, this weekend, new engine mounts were welded onto the frame to account for those changes.
This Weekend in Motorsport
As representatives from countries across the world gathered for the Climate Change Conference, the Formula E series took to the streets of Morocco for the Marrakech ePrix for the second race of the 2016-17 season. Rookie Felix Rosenqvist claimed his first pole position for Mahindra Racing and led most of the race from the start despite suffering issues with his dashboard readings. With a significant gap opened between him and the second place car that was not diminished during the mandatory pit stop, Rosenqvist looked set to win. However, the rookie began to suffer energy depletion, allowing Renault e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi to overtake him for first place, even after earning a five place grid penalty at the start of the race. The energy issues also allowed DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird to secure second place, leaving Rosenqvist to content himself with the final step of the podium.
While the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix started out with a familiar story - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg dominating the starting grid once again - the race turned out to be anything but usual. A rain-drenched circuit saw the race delayed, start under a safety car, and suffer two red flags, it was a race of attrition for many, starting with Romain Grosjean on the formation lap. Unfortunately, one of the victims was hometown hero Felipe Massa - his final Brazilian GP ended in a DNF; carrying a Brazilian flag down the pit lane, he was applauded by the members of every team who stopped their work mid-race. Hamilton and Rosberg secured their first and second positions, which means the title will be decided at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. Red Bull's Max Verstappen rounded out the podium in third position, working his way up from the bottom of the grid after a late rain-induced pit stop late in the race.