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What Mercedes updates say about its F1 development path

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

As track engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: “The route we want to take now is becoming increasingly clear. And that’s encouraging from a development standpoint.”

“I think this update is the first in the line that we started creating in Barcelona, ​​and it’s encouraging to see that it has worked.”

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So let’s take a look at what Mercedes brought to Silverstone and what that tells us about where their focus is at the moment.

While the list of new items noted at the pre-event car show was extensive, there was no mention of a change made to its front wing, so not much focus was placed on it.

It escaped notice largely because there were no new parties involved. The change visually disarms it, the dive plane, which has been moved to a lower position on the endplate, is the same element. You can even see the scars on the wing where the dive plane once lived.

Mercedes W13 front wing endplate detail

Mercedes W13 front wing endplate detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This change may seem quite small, but repositioning it will make the wing perform quite differently. For example, both the path of airflow and the way pressure builds up on the surface affect its interaction with the other surfaces, such as the unique interaction of the Mercedes fin and end plate below.

This is not only decisive in the performance of the front wing but also in the continuous effect that the passage of the airflow has downstream, with the wake generated by the front tire affected by the change of direction.

The floor, which we will talk about shortly, has attracted more attention due to the problems that Mercedes has had this season.

However, the changes made to the front of the car should not be downplayed either, as they are certainly significant when we consider how you will establish flow structures that will also be beneficial downstream.

The changes are also unique to the Brackley-based team, showing that Mercedes is still swimming against the grain of these new regulations as it tries to find performance where others have not.

This will be in line with their decision to favor the zero pod solution in some way, but their rivals will no doubt look into this and see if there are aspects that could also help them unlock performance with their own solutions.

Suspension detail Mercedes W13

Suspension detail Mercedes W13

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

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 match the changes.

These changes will result in local airflow being diverted to the floor and sidepods, with the canards on the side of the chassis also redesigned and repositioned to maximize the new flow conditions that have been created.

In order for these changes to be fully maximized, future optimizations are likely to be made.

However, for now, to meet aerodynamic goals with the various improved surfaces, both the dorsal wing and floor rails 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 another new design for the edge of its floor.

At the core of the redesign remains the DNA of the existing solution, with the scythe-shaped edge wing section still part of the solution, although it has been extended forward to present the extractor section upwards.

This floor section is extremely similar to the design employed by McLaren, although Mercedes has gone with what McLaren originally did: with just three strakes used to force the direction of airflow as it is drawn off the floor; McLaren now has five.

The Mercedes floor lip next to the separate scythe-shaped wing edge section is now fully covered in a metallic finish to help reduce any flex that may occur, while a new, beefier bracket has been replaced on the middle of this section as well.

Mercedes W13 Floor Comparison

Mercedes W13 Floor Comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

The braces used around the front section of the extractor also serve a dual purpose, as their shape will no doubt favor the production of vortices which will further enhance the performance of the floor edge.

The forwardmost section of the floor edge has also been rolled up compared to the most recent floor spec, with more of the rear of the floor fences exposed than before.

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

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The most recent changes also show that Mercedes’ frame of reference regarding the downforce generated versus the amount of drag it had on its car fell short of its target during the early part of 2022.

In recent races he has reduced that deficit and, for Silverstone, redesigned the outer section of the rear wing in an effort to make up for it even more.

The changes made for Silverstone revolve around the rolled-up nose section, with Mercedes flattening the top section, thus stretching the wing’s span and altering how the tip vortex will form (Silverstone, right, bottom , the border highlighted in yellow).

Mercedes W13 rear wing comparison

Mercedes W13 rear wing comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

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