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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Why new rear wing hints at change of F1 strategy for Mercedes

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In addition to final 12 months’s W13 affected by porpoising and an absence of useable downforce, it additionally left Lewis Hamilton and George Russell going through a deficit on the straights.

The crew was eager to handle its aero effectivity for this 12 months, however one of many notable components in final week’s Bahrain take a look at was that it appeared to haven’t made dramatic progress on that entrance.

A part of the reason appeared clearly although, because the squad carried out its total take a look at programme with what seemed like a high-downforce rear wing. This was in distinction to opponents who ran a few of their laps with very completely different preparations.

Mercedes clearly had a plan in place, although, because the W14 was noticed within the Sakhir pitlane on Thursday with a decrease downforce specification wing.

Mercedes W13 rear wing

Hamilton himself defined that the brand new rear wing was being introduced as an experiment, and performed down discuss of it being a game-changer.

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“We hope it will likely be extra suited to this circuit, however I do not suppose that is going to vary all the things,” he stated. “Hopefully it’ll push us in the precise path.

“We have now undoubtedly a a lot better understanding of the place we have to put the automobile, the place the weak factors of the automobile are. These will not be fastened proper now, however the women and men again within the manufacturing unit are specializing in getting there as quickly as attainable.”

Bringing such a low-downforce resolution so early within the marketing campaign marks a change of tact for Mercedes.

Final 12 months, the W13 did not obtain this therapy till Miami, with the higher flap’s trailing edge reduce down within the interim to assist scale back drag.

This time, not solely has motion been taken earlier however it’s a wholly new rear wing meeting.

While this design language may be acquainted to Mercedes underneath the guise of the pre-2022 rules, it did not favour the spoon-shaped mainplane design in any respect final season.

This put it at odds with many of the area, with rivals more than pleased to leverage the aerodynamic benefits that may be gained from the design structure.

The spoon-shaped mainplane design has lengthy been utilized by groups as a method to have their cake and eat it, with the central, deeper portion of the wing anticipated to generate extra downforce, while the outer, shorter chord portion of the wing blends with the endplate to cut back the drag generated.

Their new design, very similar to what’s seen on the Purple Bull, bears its underbelly to the oncoming movement.

That is just like how the central part of its increased downforce wing would work, whereas the forefront of the higher flap additionally has a thicker floor till it meets with the tip part.

The cut-out within the higher rear nook of the endplate additionally returns, as a method to assist management the tip vortex.

Like how Mercedes constructed its wings throughout 2022, it does have an interchangeable panel part right here, which means that it might make fast adjustments to regulate how the wing performs.

It could additionally be capable of run one thing with even much less downforce if required at some venues.

Ferrari SF-23, old rear wing
Ferrari SF-23, new rear wing

Ferrari closed out the ultimate day of pre-season testing with back-to-back comparisons on two rear wing specs too.

The brand new specification wing featured quite a few adjustments, not solely to the form of the mainplane and higher flap but additionally to the endplate’s tip part.

Nonetheless, essentially the most notable change was the change from a double-mounting pillar association to a single pillar.

As soon as once more that is all concerning the trade-offs of 1 resolution over one other. The one pillar is bulkier, with a view to counter the hundreds it sustains, while additionally requiring a crescent-shaped mounting that permits it to wrap across the exhaust.

The one-element pillar additionally meets with the DRS pod in a swan-neck association, whereas the dual pillars intersect with the underside of the mainplane.

These adjustments not solely have bodily ramifications with reference to how the hundreds are transferred but additionally aerodynamic penalties too, because the central portion of the wing will see completely different results relying on the wing in use.

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