Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Why there’s more to Mercedes than a new paint scheme in Austria
Mercedes arrived at the Austrian Grand Prix with a collection of new parts as it continues to push forward in the defense of its world championships.
The collection of modifications – which offer very little in isolation – will add up to a more sizable chunk of performance when we consider them as collective. These parts have been developed after the team crunched and understood the data collected during the pre-season tests in Barcelona in February.
Mercedes AMG F1 W11 rear wing detail
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
Mercedes AMG F1 W11 rear wing
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
The W11s have been outfitted with new rear wing assemblies in preparation for free practice tomorrow and feature the single-pillar arrangement and enlarged DRS pod (left) that was trialled towards the end of pre-season testing, rather than the double-pillar and separately-mounted DRS pod used previously (right).
This arrangement is a trade-off, with more weight needed in the single pillar structure than the double pillar alternative, but allowing the team more aerodynamic design freedom in the central section of the wing to increase downforce and reduce drag. The likely offshoot of this is that it may be able to achieve similar levels of downforce without carrying as much wing.
The rear wing endplates have also received attention, with the outboard overhanging vanes extended further forwards, in order to capture the airflow earlier and help establish an aerodynamic connection with the surrounding flow structures.
The team has also removed the lower strakes too, as it looks to alter the rear wing’s interactive behaviour with the diffuser below.
Mercedes W11 comparison
Photo by: Motorsport Images
Some changes have also been made to the mirror stalks that are mounted to the side of the cockpit. Previously arching over to meet the mirrors, which have supports that reach forward out of the sidepod’s leading edge, the new stalks have more of a squared-off design, which will likely help improve the flow over the sidepod.
It’s also expected that the W11 will sport a new diffuser, with treatment of the perforated Gurney-style extensions that wrap around and over the main structure altered to help extract more downforce.
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