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Analysis
Formula 1 Mexico City GP

Mercedes tweaks new F1 front wing design for Mexico GP

Mercedes has brought a tweaked version of its new Formula 1 front wing design to the Mexican Grand Prix after changes were required by the FIA.

Mercedes W13 front wing detail

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.

As part of its final F1 update package of season, Mercedes introduced a new front wing for the W13 at the United States Grand Prix last week, with the first glimpse emerging last Thursday.

But it emerged that some of Mercedes’ rivals had flagged concerns with the FIA about the use of a novel slot gap separator bracket design on the wing and where it lay within the regulations.

Mercedes never planned to run the wing in Austin, only bringing it to the race for freight reasons, but a modified version has now emerged.

Technical director Mike Elliott said last Sunday that while the team thought the wing was within the regulations, modifications may be made to avoid a challenge from rivals.

The updated version of the wing has now broken cover at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Given the wing’s redesign isn’t entirely reliant on the outwash-generating brackets mounted between the two upper flaps, the team appears to have removed them and replaced them with the more conventional horseshoe-like brackets.

Mercedes W13 front wing comparison

Mercedes W13 front wing comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The flaps still carry the scars of where the brackets had been fixed to the flaps – the darker patches – with the team having to carefully remove them without damaging or stressing the elements.

The wing will still carry the new design features in the outboard section of the wing, with the flap and endplate juncture altered to better influence the airflow and create more outwash than its predecessor.

It remains to be seen if Mercedes or if any of its rivals will pursue the style of slot gap separator bracket design seen in Austin (above, inset).

However, it thought the FIA also has reservations as it moves aways from the primary purpose of the design from being a support that reduces flexion to something that plays a more prominent aerodynamic role.

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