How Mercedes is dealing with F1 engine cooling headaches in 2018

Lewis Hamilton's warnings about his engine getting too hot during his pursuit of Sebastian Vettel at the Australian Grand Prix has highlighted how on the edge cooling requirements are in Formula 1

How Mercedes is dealing with F1 engine cooling headaches in 2018

Teams well know that the less cooling required, the more aerodynamic performance they can achieve from a car featuring more closed-off bodywork, but that brings a risk of things overheating.

In Mercedes' case with its W09 in Melbourne, its car had sufficient cooling for when it was running in clear air, but that became more marginal when running behind a rival.

The balancing act over cooling will be even tougher in Bahrain this weekend, with temperatures much higher than in Australia.

Mercedes has opted for a clever way of installing its halo, with the boat tail section at the rear of the safety structure crafted into a cooling exit (red arrow, below).

It's not dissimilar to the solution used when cooling demands were at the most extreme last season (inset, below), as the team exchanged the normal blank panel alongside the cockpit for one that included two vertical cooling slits when it was needed.

What has changed this year is the fact that the cooling slot appears to be more permanent - with interchangeable panels fitted (blue arrow, above) depending on what the individual cooling requirements are.

For Australia, the team opted to run the W09 with a blank panel, relying on only the new exit and the main cooling exit at the rear of the car.

Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas noted how difficult it was to follow other cars and keep their power unit in the optimum temperature window, leading to them having to back off and pull out of the wake of cars ahead of them on the straights.

Lewis Hamilton said: "I was on the limit, pushing, but always nervous of damaging the engine at the same time.

"I cooled it down and then when I got relatively close, it came back. So I was constantly being pushed and pulled."

Valtteri Bottas added: "I couldn't put pressure on other cars, I could only follow for two laps and then back off and try again."

Bahrain will offer a fascinating insight into how much aerodynamic performance Mercedes is willing to sacrifice in the bid to ensure it gets its cooling spot on.

shares
comments
All F1 teams except Ferrari commit to 2018 eSports series

Previous article

All F1 teams except Ferrari commit to 2018 eSports series

Next article

Formula 1: Haas shuffles crew afrer Australian GP pitstop blunders

Formula 1: Haas shuffles crew afrer Australian GP pitstop blunders
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Giorgio Piola
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021