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Tech Corner: Merc Updates

Matt Somerfield takes an in-depth look at Mercedes’ latest rear wing that was used at Suzuka as well as amendments to the sidepod bodywork at the rear of the car.

Mercedes shod their poor performance of Singapore with another 1-2 victory in Japan, going to prove that the team had simply suffered a one-off, as Lewis Hamilton coasted to victory 20 seconds ahead of the field.

The team arrived in Suzuka having prepared yet another new rear wing design for the challenging circuit of Suzuka. The use of a top flap with triangular cut outs at the outboard edges [1] has been used previously by the team this season, whilst in the centre the V groove was also enlarged [2], as the team look to meet the downforce demands whilst reducing drag. Coupled to these changes the endplates featured 5 endplate louvres [3], much the same as the less intricate Singapore higher downforce wing, tuning how the tip vortices are created whilst allowing for the steeper flap angle of attack.

On the endplates leading edge we find a much taller tyre wake slot, as the team have conjoined the upper and lower slots [4]. Furthermore, the slots have been splayed in much the same way as the lower downforce Spa and Monza wings. This helps to energize the underside of the mainplane and top flap, whilst changing how the tip vortex forms.  Meanwhile, the serrations [5] favoured by the team, whilst others continue to use strakes, were amended too. This changes how the airflow is upwashed, connecting the flow structures of the diffuser and rear wing. To assist in the central part of the wing the team also ran their less complex single plane Y100 winglet [6], changing the separation point and giving the driver the balance he requires in the medium speed corners.

The team also made amendments to the sidepod bodywork at the rear of the car, with the detachable hoop revised (highlighted in green). In its previous guise this hoop met with the cars floor, whilst the new configuration attaches to the base of the sidepod/crash structure, meeting the differing challenges of cooling for the Suzuka circuit, whilst also taking into account the changes made to the mounting point and endplates of the rear wing.

Matt Somerfield

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