Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

How Mercedes has turned the corner on its knife-edge W12

Mercedes arrived at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after a bruising pre-season Formula 1 test and some warning signs about Red Bull’s potential in the Bahrain race.

How Mercedes has turned the corner on its knife-edge W12

It had to face up to the reality that new regulations had appeared to hamper the low rake runners more than their high rake counterparts.

However, while fellow low rake runner Aston Martin has continued to struggle to maximise its package in response to this, Mercedes has made clear progress with its car.

For although the W12 has still been labelled a bit ‘knife edge’ by Lewis Hamilton, the car has noticeably got more stable as time has progressed – and that has drawn it closer to Red Bull.

The team's development and setup focus has clearly been at the rear of the car, with the team evaluating two rear wing options during Imola’s Friday free practice sessions.

Both had slightly different downforce levels but perhaps more importantly they sported different support pillar designs. 

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

This is not a new tactic for Mercedes, as it spent a good chunk of last season conducting similar tests in an effort to understand which trade off would suit their requirements for qualifying and the race, with the effect on DRS one of the factors.

Another area where the team looked to improve its stability issues was with a revised strake design for its diffuser.

The layout of the strakes had largely been carried over from last year's design, albeit with the lower 50mm cut off to comply with the new regulations.

However, for Imola a change was made to the secondary line of strakes, with the L-Shaped design used in Bahrain exchanged for a full length version (highlighted in green, below).

Mercedes W12 diffuser comparison

Mercedes W12 diffuser comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, it would appear that the surface coating of the diffuser transition has also been modified for the second race of the season, perhaps in an effort to keep the flow attached and stabilise the performance of the central section of the diffuser.

PLUS: How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Red Bull 2021 nose tweak

Red Bull spent a significant amount of its time fighting a correlation issue in the early part of last season, as it discovered that its real world performance didn’t match with the information provided by its simulation tools.

One of the major changes the team had undergone during this phase was a shift in nose design philosophy, with the team switching to the almost universally adopted cape solution.

The team switched back and forth between a narrow and wide pillar mounting position during this period but the rest of the assembly remained relatively unchanged.

 

Having spent its development tokens on the rear of the RB16B, you’d be mistaken for thinking that the nose hasn’t seen any action, but a sizeable section of bodywork has been placed on the cape behind the nose box.

Once placed on the car, this section of the cape slides in to meet the chassis, with the new bodywork filling in some of the void that you’d have previously found the airflow rushing to fill.

shares
comments
F1 champion Hamilton reacts to George Floyd murder trial verdict

Previous article

F1 champion Hamilton reacts to George Floyd murder trial verdict

Next article

Sainz thinks Ferrari can be ahead of McLaren at other tracks

Sainz thinks Ferrari can be ahead of McLaren at other tracks
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021