Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

F1 tech review: The updates that put Mercedes on top – again

Mercedes' season got off to a slow start, as the team grappled with another, at times, temperamental machine. Forced on to the backfoot by a fast-starting Ferrari, and unable to get the best from the tyres, the team took its time and set about rectifying deficiencies without panic.

F1 tech review: The updates that put Mercedes on top – again

As the season progressed, developments arrived, tyre knowledge was gained and Mercedes settled into a rhythm that would eventually upset their title rival’s charge, allowing it to press home the advantage in style over the closing stages.

Join us as we take a look back at the novelties, intricacies, developments and innovations that were wrapped up in the W09’s packaging...

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ nose detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ nose detail
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A close up of the nose ‘cape’ and the ‘S’-duct inlet that is present within it.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ brake duct detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ brake duct detail
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The front brake duct, with its various winglets to alter the wake generated by the tyre and condition airflow passing by. Also note the wire placed ahead of the inlet, in order that debris is not caught up inside the pipework and potentially cause the brakes to overheat.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 nose detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 nose detail
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A nice top-down, rear-quarter view of the bargeboard region.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 front floor detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 front floor detail
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Nice view of the gull-winglet under the chassis and the vertical upstands mounted atop the serrated bargeboard footplates.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 steering wheel

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 steering wheel
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A great view into the W09’s cockpit and steering wheel, with its various buttons, toggles and rotaries for making changes to the power unit.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 steering wheel drawing detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 steering wheel drawing detail
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Photo by: Mercedes-Benz

This info sheet explains the various functions available on the steering wheel

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear floor

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear floor
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Photo by: Mark Sutton

An overview of the W09’s floor area ahead of the rear wheels, with the various angled fully enclosed holes placed in it.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear diffuser detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear diffuser detail
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Photo by: Mark Sutton

A close up of the W09’s diffuser, note how the outer flaps don’t just envelope its periphery but also arch back too.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 front suspension

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 front suspension
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Note how the flo-viz comes to life when the engineer shines a light on the surface and takes pictures.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 detail
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With the covers off some of the power unit’s installation and ancillary details are revealed.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 engine view

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 engine view
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Another angle of the W09 with its covers off.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A fantastic view of the W09’s rear end, complete with higher downforce rear wing and the curled diffuser channels. Also note the serrated flap around the crash structure.

Mercedes W09 front suspension

Mercedes W09 front suspension
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

An overview of the W09’s front suspension.

Mercedes W09 damper

Mercedes W09 damper
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A closer look at the rockers which have been tied together and the hydraulic ‘heave’ damper in the cylinder behind.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A close up of the rear of the car when sent out without the exhaust fairing on shows how the central pillar envelopes the exhaust, which itself has to go through a few torturous twists and turns.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear wing detail with aero paint

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 rear wing detail with aero paint
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Photo by: Sutton Images

The W09’s rear wing with flo-viz paint applied during pre-season testing.

Mercedes W09 rims comparison

Mercedes W09 rims comparison
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Following on from the exposure and potential protest of Mercedes rear wheel rim trick, the team opted not to fully run the solution at the Brazilian GP, covering some of the holes on the rim’s inner face to prevent the air escaping.

Mercedes F1 W09 rear wing Azerbaijan GP and Spanish GP

Mercedes F1 W09 rear wing Azerbaijan GP and Spanish GP
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

These illustrations show the different methodology applied depending on circuit characteristics. The team used a spoon-style wing at Baku, in order to reduce drag but maintain some balance for the driver, while a conventional shape and high downforce settings were deployed at Barcelona.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
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Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Top-down view of the vortex generators mounted atop the sidepods exclusively for the Monaco GP.

Mercedes W09 front brake drum comparison, Canadian GP

Mercedes W09 front brake drum comparison, Canadian GP
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

From the Canadian GP we get an insight into how the team make changes to the brake drum to suit different circuit characteristics.

Mercedes W09 front brake fins, French GP

Mercedes W09 front brake fins, French GP
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

For the French GP the team not only had a new specification power unit but also made a small alteration to the front brake duct, splitting and enlarging one of the winglets mounted upon it.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
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Photo by: Motorsport Images

As part of an updated sidepod package the team had new mirrors and supporting stalks in Austria.

Mercedes W09 rear wing endplate comparison

Mercedes W09 rear wing endplate comparison
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team also introduced a new rear wing design in Austria, taking cues from the straked endplate design previously used by McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
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Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Merc painted flo-viz onto the diffuser during Austrian GP FP3 as they hoped to gather information that could be used back at the factory.

Mercedes F1 AMG W09 rim tyre

Mercedes F1 AMG W09 rim tyre
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes introduced a new rear wheel rim design at the Belgian GP, complete with these enlarged fins on the wheel’s outer face. The fins are used to increase the rim’s surface area and help control the temperature of it and the tyre attached.

Mercedes W09 front wing

Mercedes W09 front wing
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Trialled at the post Hungarian GP test, the team added an extra slotted ‘r’-shaped cascade to the front wing in Belgium.

Mercedes W09 rear wing comparison

Mercedes W09 rear wing comparison
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Photo by: Manuel Goria / Motorsport Images

Mercedes ran low downforce rear wings at both Spa and Monza, a comparison of which can be seen here.

Mercedes F1 W09 bargeboard, Monza GP

Mercedes F1 W09 bargeboard, Monza GP
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team made changes to their bargeboards for the Italian GP, as it added some slotted elements on the side of the splitter extension (red arrow), which required the chassis canard above to have some extra slots added into it too (white arrow).

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 rear wing comparsion, Singapore GP

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 rear wing comparsion, Singapore GP
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The team had a revised high downforce rear wing for the Singapore GP, which saw the strikes deleted (inset) and an extra long slot added at the rear of the endplate (highlighted in yellow).

Mercedes W09 halo fairing comparison

Mercedes W09 halo fairing comparison
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

First tested at the Singapore GP, Mercedes latterly raced this three-element winglet atop their halo (red arrow), in combination with the shoulder style upstands it had started to use and continually modified at the British GP (blue arrow).

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 with halo aero paint

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 with halo aero paint
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Photo by: Rubio / Motorsport Images

Flo-viz paint flashed over the halo and winglets to make sure they’re performing as expected

Mercedes W09 rear wing pillar comparison

Mercedes W09 rear wing pillar comparison
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team trialled a new rear wing pillar configuration in Russia, opting for two swan-neck style pillars, rather than a single under-mounted variant.

Mercedes F1 W09 rear extra pipe detail

Mercedes F1 W09 rear extra pipe detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The pillar test coincided with the team’s movement of the oil vapor pipe (red arrow).

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 front wing comparison

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 front wing comparison
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, at the front of the car some revisions were made to the front wing, as a new set of canards were placed on the endplate (white arrow), while the main cascade was bought across to meet the endplate (red arrow).

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 brake duct

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 brake duct
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The W09’s rear brake duct assembly.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
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Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The W09 being prepared on the grid, with various coolers plumbed in, in order to keep temperatures at their optimum.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 rear wing detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 rear wing detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A close up of the higher downforce straked rear wing offering first used by Mercedes in Singapore. This variant does away with the strikes and adds an extra-long slot at the rear of the endplate.

Mercedes F1 W09 cooling

Mercedes F1 W09 cooling
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A look at the more expansive cooling options used by Mercedes for the high altitude circuit in Mexico.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 technical detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 technical detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes mounted a row of pitot tubes on the W09 just ahead of the rear wheel in order that they could collect data on the tyres that Pirelli would trial at the post-season test.

Mercedes W09 rim

Mercedes W09 rim
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The W09's wheel rim, inside and out.

Mercedes F1 AMG W09 rear wing Azerbaijan GP

Mercedes F1 AMG W09 rear wing Azerbaijan GP
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Azerbaijan-spec rear wing.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 front suspension detail with aero paint

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 front suspension detail with aero paint
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The W09’s front brake duct and suspension with flo-viz applied.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 engine cover detail

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 engine cover detail
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Looking down over the W09’s open-ended chimney style engine cover.

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Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Giorgio Piola
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