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Mercedes' F1 Spanish GP upgrades spotted

The Spanish Grand Prix has been viewed as a critical Formula 1 weekend for Mercedes, as it hopes upgrades can unlock the potential it believes the W13 has within.

The George Russell Mercedes W13 is unloaded from a transporter

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. Born in Genoa, Italy, Giorgio has covered the F1 World Championship since 1969, producing thousands of illustrations that have been reproduced in the world’s most prestigious motor racing publications.

With the German manufacturer having data from pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya when it ran with its launch spec sidepods, the event will also be critical to understanding if it needs to change its car concept.

Following a filming day run at Paul Ricard on Wednesday, where the team revealed little about its Barcelona plans, the scope of what it is changing for this weekend was revealed on Thursday when George Russell's car arrived at the Barcelona track.

As Mercedes unloaded the W13 from the transporter it immediately became obvious that the team had a few new tricks up its sleeve.

Mercedes W13 double splitter winglet detail

Mercedes W13 double splitter winglet detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Looking closely at the images, Mercedes has followed the example set by Aston Martin, and which Ferrari and Red Bull have already acted on, by introducing its own 'bib wing' designs.

Sat between the bib and the underside of the chassis is this winglet (red arrow above), which also appears to stretch out a little further.

The aerodynamicists are using these wings as a means of better managing the airflow in this region of the car.

The vortices shed by them are being used to manipulate the characteristics of the edge vortices shed by the bib below, which is narrower by regulation this year.

The Mercedes team unload a W13 in the pit lane

The Mercedes team unload a W13 in the pit lane

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

One of the big talking points of the W13 has been porpoising and the role that the design of its floor plays in the ill effects that ensue.

For Spain, the team has revised the design of the floor's side, adding a scythe-like edge floor wing that's attached at three points along its length by metal stays.

The shape of the floor alongside the edge wing had also been altered in order to incorporate it, with a more pronounced raised section visible before it bleeds into the design of the floor spat region ahead of the rear tyre. This has also been altered and no longer appears to be as upswept.

Mercedes W13 in the garage

Mercedes W13 in the garage

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team is also still looking to reduce the weight of the car by any means necessary too, as while the livery tweaks made to the wheel deflectors and rear wing in Miami have been removed, the team has not returned the livery to its pre-Miami status.

It's not a huge weight save but the removal of some of the paint will help the outfit get closer to the minimum mass as it attempts to claw back vital performance against its rivals.

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