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Experimental Mercedes F1 front wing indicates the last update process

At the start of the season, Red Bull seemed to be putting more emphasis on aerodynamic upgrades than its rival in the first half of the season.It..

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Experimental Mercedes F1 front wing indicates the last update process

At the start of the season, Red Bull seemed to be putting more emphasis on aerodynamic upgrades than its rival in the first half of the season.

It delivered smaller optimization packages in almost every race, while Mercedes stuck to its usual development path and occasionally introduced substantial upgrades.

Red Bull Racing RB16B front wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This represented another level within tactical combat, not only from a developmental but also from a psychological point of view: Lewis Hamilton referred on numerous occasions to the relentless advances of his rival.

Nonetheless, Mercedes stood firm and it seemed that the package of new parts that arrived at the British Grand Prix would be the final big push for 2021.

Eagle-eyed watchers have noted, however, that Mercedes may not be fully tuned to its 2021 car as the team tested a revamped front wing at the last two Grand Prix.

It’s not an entirely new design concept for the front wing, and you wouldn’t expect it to meet the challenges of the new vehicle design that the teams are working on for next season.

The team is moving in a different direction, however, with the inner and outer sections of the upper wing elements being redesigned to change their relationship of importance between the two sections.


Mercedes W12 from wing comparison

Mercedes W12 from wing comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The new design (lower) has a more heavily loaded outer section (highlighted in green), including a Gurney flap, while the trailing edge of the wing section has been trimmed near the adjuster.

This is important as we look at the setup and will likely see the new specification used when Mercedes uses a lighter output configuration as it takes away some of the available downforce while promoting more washout from the static section of the wing. (The wing section that is located outside of the adjuster remains immobile, even if the wing is adjusted).

The new specification was tested on Friday during the last two race weekends, but has yet to be driven. However, it will undoubtedly happen again when the team arrives at the United States Grand Prix and could be something the team would like to race with lower downforce for some of the upcoming events.

Wing comparison


Mercedes W12 rear wing comparison

Mercedes W12 rear wing comparison

The Mercedes drivers had to think about a different style of racing on Sunday because of Hamilton’s starting penalty for adding a new ICE to their aggregate pool.

And as a result, it ran with various aerodynamic configurations to aid with the task at hand. Contrary to its usual selection, the Bottas W12 featured a rear wing with lower downforce, with the front wing conforming to this setup, while Hamilton’s W12 featured a higher downforce arrangement.

The larger top flap size used on Hamilton’s car is offset by a much larger central V-groove and deeper taper at the ends of the flap, reducing some of the drag that would otherwise be created by the wing.


Red Bull RB16B rear wing, Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing RB16B rear wing, Russian GP

Red Bull was also evaluating a different aerodynamic configuration for its two drivers, with Sergio Perez tasked on Friday to test a version with lower downforce.

The rear wing used by the Mexican was still a spoon-shaped rear wing design, but had fewer wings within the allowable box area and the more innocuous endplate design. It did, however, have a gurney hatch on the rear edge of the top hatch to help balance the car.

After the team put both options through their paces on Friday, the team decided to put both drivers on the higher downforce for qualifying and the race, which was likely a welcome relief given the weather that followed.


Red Bull Racing RB16B cockpit cooling

Red Bull Racing RB16B cockpit cooling

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull uses a new solution for the cooling outlets next to the driver, with the outlet behind the headrest.

The rest of the panel either has an opening that is formed further back, while the halo leg opens into the body, or they have a replaceable panel with louvers in it.

Each of these solutions is used to mitigate the aerodynamic effects of the hot air exiting in this area on the general air flow, with careful consideration also given to the requirements of the engine.

This is not the first time Red Bull has chosen to use the exhaust on one side of the car to further mitigate the aerodynamic impact, with the left side opening in Turkey.

McLaren and Ferrari also fight their own battle, as only 7.5 points separate them in the hunt for third place in the constructors’ championship.

McLaren’s recent 1-2 and overall form over the last couple of races had apparently made them a little clearer, but Ferrari’s aggregate upgrade will no doubt make the SF21 a more serious prospect as we move into the final phase of the season.


Ferrari SF21 rear wing end plate detail

Ferrari SF21 rear wing FP1, Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Ferrari also had to prepare its cars differently so its drivers could maximize their performance, with Sainz starting from behind due to his powerunit penalties while Leclerc was expected to start much further up front.

Similar to Mercedes, the decision was made to use a higher downforce configuration, which started further down the field, as Carlos Sainz’s SF21 was equipped with a more conventional rear wing with higher downforce.


Ferrari SF21 rear wing GP Spain

Ferrari SF21 rear wing GP Spain

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, Leclerc’s car had added the spoon-shaped rear wing with lower downforce as the team tried to make the car stronger for the straights and sacrifice some power in the corners.

Interestingly, both drivers had tried out the higher downforce configuration including the double-element T-wing in free practice on Friday.


McLaren MCL35M rear wing, Russian GP

McLaren MCL35M rear wing, Russian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren decided to put both drivers on higher downforce for the Turkish Grand Prix after winning it in Russia.

It quickly concluded, however, that it would drive without the double T-wing arrangement, and removed it from both cars after being tested with it during FP1.

The post Experimental Mercedes F1 front wing indicates the last update process first appeared on monter-une-startup.