Technology: Should Mercedes Revisit in 2019?


( – After the first test week in Barcelona to seriously assess the balancing of power, it is still impossible to learn observers. Extremely unknown factors such as the amount of fuel the group was traveling with or the timing of the most important parts of Aero. In the opener of the season in Australia on March 17, it is widely expected, many new updates will be added to the car not yet in the car.

Front wing Mercedes F1 W10 EQ Power +

The front wing is one of the most important elements of aerodynamics zoom

But the first trends are recognizable. It is not a new idea that almost all teams are based on a fairly sharp angle of attack on the car (Red Bull has been using such an idea for many years), but in 2019 it has become "fashionable" for most teams. And Alfa Romeo has put a lot of talk with the sloping front wing.

Only Mercedes remains faithful to its technical line, which states: a large wheelbase, low angle of attack, outward-facing forward wing. But in the first test week, the F1 W10 EQ Power + lagged behind. Paddock specialists are seeing it today in about half a second on Ferrari. And indeed, even Silver Arrows seem to have doubts as to whether they have evolved in the right direction in the winter.

"The big risk with a new arrangement is that you have overlooked a huge gap, as happened in 2009," said Bob Tokyo Golf on Monday in Barcelona. At the same time, he said: "So far, we have not seen any major innovation in a car we have ignored."

Mercedes admits: "It must be open minded"

An evaluation that sounds slightly different after the first four days of the test. Without explicitly naming the current idea as the wrong road, Wolff admits: "We have to be open to other ideas if we discover something in another car and we think it is worth it, then we will see it."

It is clear: "We have a lot of room for improvement," says the Austrian. But it is also clear: "There are things that you can not apply overnight. If you have to re-examine the full aerodynamic concept of the car, it's not a matter of weeks but months."

Formula 1 Technic 2019: Detailed front wing

So far, the main focus is on the front end of the car, which, according to expert Marc Surer, represents at least 50% of the overall Aero concept. And there is the innovative Alfa Romeo one and Mercedes the other end. Alfa Romeo chose side wing elements. And also for the "nostrils", which direct the airflow under the vehicle.

Even at the "tip of the nose" Mercedes was not impressed by the new trends. The F1 W10 is as conventional as ever. Andrew Green of Force India does not see it as a lack of courage: "Mercedes has used its own philosophy for years, has always been different and won five world championships!"

Wolff adds: "Our design philosophy has always been different, we have always had a bigger wheelbase, we never had a sharp angle, and not because we think our idea is superior in every respect, but because we believe that in general with the context and the power unit is the best package for us. "

Rules 2019: Is a new focus made?

But as far as the technical requirements are concerned, the new regulations of 2019 could have changed a lot. Due to the wider and simplified front wing, it has become even more important than before to create a vacuum under the front wing. And this is the case, at least technological experts like Gary Anderson, with a sharp angle of attack better than with a level.

Tech Formula 1 2019: Top teams compared

However, Red Bull, one of Mercedes's main competitors, does not let the technical innovations of the competition disrupt them. Team Leader Christian Horner insists he has no problem losing a technical trick. "But it is very interesting to see the different interpretation of the rules".

Even though teams such as Mercedes and Red Bull can admit that Alfa Romeo has gone the right way: "The whole car works as an interaction of its parts – you can not just change the shape of a blade because it would affect the rest of the vehicle, "explains Horner.

The logic behind this statement is simple: the direction of air flow from the front wing changes the way the air hits the underlying aerodynamic parts of the vehicle. This may require a whole change of rat tail. For example, the barges, which are the focus in 2019, or the rear wing.

But there is no panic in the Red Bull: "We're happy with our idea and we'll see how things will develop during the season," Horner smiles. "So far, there has been nothing that would have caused us panic because we may have missed it." He finally knows: "The cars that are being tested will look a little different in Melbourne …"


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