RACING

What Mercedes’ upgrades say about its F1 development path

ADVERTISEMENT

Although she was partly helped by a smooth circuit, which reduced the occurrence of bounces, the promise of car changes left her confident that she is now on the right development path with her car.

As Andrew Shovlin, Director of Ground Engineering, said, “The road we want to take now is becoming increasingly clear. And that’s encouraging from a development perspective.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I think this update is the first on the line that we’ve started to create at Barcelona, ​​and it’s encouraging to see that it worked.”

So let’s take a look at what Mercedes has brought to Silverstone and what that tells us about where it’s focus is right now.

While the list of new items noted in the pre-event auto show was long, a change to its front spoiler was not mentioned and therefore not much focus on it.

It escaped notice largely because there were no new parts involved. The change is visually disarming, the dive plane, which has been moved down on the endplate, is the same element. You can even see the scars on the wing where the dive plane once lived.

Mercedes W13 front fender end plate detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This change may seem quite small, but repositioning it will result in quite a different behavior of the wing. For example, the passage of airflow and the way pressure builds up on the surface affects their interaction with other surfaces, such as Mercedes’ unique flap and endplate interaction below .

This is not only decisive in the performance of the front wing but in the permanent effect of the passage of the air flow downstream, the wake generated by the front tire being affected by the change of direction.

The ground, which we will discuss shortly, has attracted more attention, due to the problems Mercedes have had this season.

However, the changes to the front end of the car should not be understated either, as they are certainly significant when considering how they will set up flow structures that will also be beneficial downstream.

The changes are also unique to the Brackley-based team, proving that Mercedes is still swimming somewhat against the tide with these new regulations in its bid to find performance where others have failed.

This will be in line with its decision to favor the zero pod solution in some ways, but its rivals will no doubt look into this and see if there are any aspects that could also help them unlock performance with their own solutions.

Mercedes W13 suspension detail

Mercedes W13 suspension detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In order to achieve Mercedes’ objectives, volume has also been added to the side of the chassis around the suspension elements.

The suspension fairings also have net extensions added to match the changes.

These changes will result in local airflow being directed towards the floor and the sidepods, with the canards on the side of the chassis also being re-profiled and repositioned to maximize the new flow conditions that have been created.

In order for these changes to be fully optimized, future optimizations will likely be made.

For now though, so that the aerodynamic goals are achieved with the various improved surfaces, the bib wing and the floor fences have also been changed as part of the revision.

Mercedes W13 chassis fins

Mercedes W13 chassis fins

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes also hinted at another new design for the edge of its floor.

At the center of the redesign remains the DNA of the existing solution, with the scythe-shaped wing section still part of the solution, albeit having been extended forward to feature the flipped extraction section.

This section of the floor is extremely similar to the design employed by McLaren, although Mercedes has opted for what McLaren did originally: with only three strakes used to constrain the direction of airflow as it is extracted from the basement – McLaren now has five.

The edge of the Mercedes floor along the detached faux-shaped section of the edge fender is now fully covered in a metallic finish to help reduce any flex that may occur, while a new stay more robust was supplanted in the middle of it. section too.

Comparison of Mercedes W13 floors

Comparison of Mercedes W13 floors

Photo by: Uncredited

The stays used around the front section of the extractor also serve a dual purpose, their shape no doubt aiding the production of vortices which will further improve floor edge performance.

The forwardmost section of the ground edge has also been rolled up compared to the most recent specification of the ground, with more of the rear section of the ground fences exposed than before.

All of these changes indicate Mercedes have a much better idea of ​​how they want to channel airflow around and under their car – and it’s certainly being done in a different way than at the start of the season.

Read also :

More recent changes also show that Mercedes’ frame of reference for downforce generated versus the amount of drag it had on its car missed its mark at the start of 2022.

In recent races he has reduced that deficit and, for Silverstone, he has redesigned the outer section of the rear wing in an attempt to further compensate for it.

Changes to Silverstone revolve around the rolled toe section, with Mercedes flattening the top section, thereby stretching the wing span and altering how the toe vortex will form (Silverstone, right, bottom, edge highlighted in yellow).

Mercedes W13 rear wing comparison

Mercedes W13 rear wing comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

ADVERTISEMENT