What Mercedes upgrades tell us about its development path

Mercedes has every reason to feel a renewed sense of optimism about its potential in Formula 1, after a raft of upgrades helped it shine in the British Grand Prix.

What Mercedes upgrades tell us about its development path

Although it was helped in part by a smooth circuit, which reduced the occurrence of bouncing, the promise shown by the car changes has left it confident that it is now on the right development path with its car.

As trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: “The route that we want to take now is becoming increasingly clear. And that's encouraging from a development point of view.

“I think this update is the first one along the line that we started to create in Barcelona, and it's encouraging to see that it has worked.”

So let’s take a look at what Mercedes brought to Silverstone and what that tells us about where its focus is right now.

While the list of new items noted in the pre-event automobile display was extensive, a change made to its front wing was not mentioned so did not have much focus on it.

It escaped attention largely because there were no new parts involved. The change is visually disarming, the diveplane, which has been moved down to a lower position on the endplate, is the same item. You can even see the scars on the wing where the diveplane once lived.

Mercedes W13 front wing endplate detail

Mercedes W13 front wing endplate detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This change might seem quite small, but its repositioning will result in the wing performing quite differently. For example, both the passage of the airflow and how the pressure builds across the surface affects their interaction with the other surfaces, such as Mercedes’ unique flap and endplate interaction below.

This is not only decisive in the performance of the front wing but the ongoing effect the airflow's passage has downstream, with the wake generated by the front tyre affected by the directional change.

The floor, which we’ll cover shortly, has garnered more attention, owing to the problems that Mercedes has encountered this season.

However, the changes made to the car’s front end should not be downplayed either, as it is certainly significant when we consider how it will set up flow structures that will also be beneficial downstream.

The changes are also unique to the Brackley-based squad, proving Mercedes is still somewhat swimming against the current with these new regulations in its attempt to find performance where others have not.

This will be in lock-step with its decision to favour the zero-pod solution in some ways, but its rivals will undoubtedly look at this and see if there are aspects that might also help them unlock performance with their own solutions.

Mercedes W13 suspension detail

Mercedes W13 suspension detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In order to achieve Mercedes’ goals, volume has also been added to the side of the chassis around the suspension members.

The suspension fairings also have fillet extensions added to them to match up with the changes.

These changes will result in the local airflow being downwashed towards the floor and sidepods, with the canards on the side of the chassis also reprofiled and repositioned in order to maximise the new flow conditions that have been created.

In order that these changes are fully maximised there will likely be future optimisations made.

For now though, in order for the aerodynamic aims to be met with the various surfaces improved, both the bib wing and floor fences have also been modified as part of the overhaul.

Mercedes W13 chassis fins

Mercedes W13 chassis fins

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes also conjured up yet another new design for the edge of its floor.

At the centre of the redesign remains the DNA of the existing solution, with the scythe-shaped edge wing section still forming part of the solution, albeit having been extended forward to feature the upturned extractor section.

This section of the floor is extremely similar to the design employed by McLaren, albeit Mercedes has opted for what McLaren did originally: with only three strakes used to coerce the direction of the airflow as it’s extracted out from under floor - McLaren now has five.

The edge of the Mercedes floor alongside the detached scythe-like section of the edge wing is now fully decked out with a metallic finish to help reduce any flexion that might occur, while a new, more robust stay has been supplanted in the middle of this section too.

Mercedes W13 floor comparison

Mercedes W13 floor comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

The stays used around the front extractor section also have a dual purpose, with their shape undoubtedly encouraging the production of vortices that will further enhance the performance of the floor’s edge.

The forwardmost section of the floor's edge has also been rolled up compared to the most recent specification of the floor, with more of the trailing portion of the floor fences being exposed than before.

All these changes point to Mercedes having a much better idea of how it wants the channel the airflow around and underneath its car – and it is certainly being done in a different way compared to the start of the season.

Read Also:

More recent changes also show that Mercedes’ frame of reference in regards to downforce generated versus the amount of drag it had on its car has missed its target during the early part of 2022.

In recent races it has been reducing that deficit and, for Silverstone, it redesigned the outer section of the rear wing in an effort to offset this further.

The changes made for Silverstone revolve around the rolled tip section, with Mercedes flattening out the upper section, thus stretching the wing’s span and altering how the tip vortex will form (Silverstone, right, below, edge highlighted in yellow).

Mercedes W13 Rear Wing Comparison

Mercedes W13 Rear Wing Comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

shares
comments
Marko: Red Bull hired psychologist to help "problem child" Tsunoda
Previous article

Marko: Red Bull hired psychologist to help "problem child" Tsunoda

Next article

Alfa Romeo struggling to find FP1 slot for Pourchaire

Alfa Romeo struggling to find FP1 slot for Pourchaire
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022