Mercedes W15

Arnab Bose

EXPLAINED: This Is Why Mercedes’ New Front Wing Design Is Genius Yet Controversial!

F1 team Mercedes has been struggling with their car design since 2022. They could only manage to win one race in the last two seasons. It was the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, where the Silver Arrows had a one-two finish. However, most of the season, the drivers complained about the porpoising issue that caused too much bouncing. Even in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix of 2022, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell suffered a lot of bruises along with neck and back pain. The team thought W14 would be much better than W13. However, things did not quite go according to Mercedes’s plans. The W14 car sure had much less porpoising issues, but it could not help the racers win any single Grand Prix.

However, Mercedes used most of the 2023 season, only gathering data that would help them understand the car. Now, the question is if all that data has helped the Silver Arrows to build their 2024 challenger. On the other hand, the rivals Red Bull copied their sidepod concept from last year to build RB20. Anyhow, since Mercedes launched their W15 car, they have been gathering a lot of attention. Some are calling the new car’s front wings “Genius”, and there are some who called it “Controversial.”

   

Mercedes W15 Is Gaining Attention For Their “Unique” Front Wing

Mercedes W15
Mercedes W15 Source: RacingNews365

Since F1 testing started in Bahrain, there have been clearer images of the front wing of the German team’s car available. First of all, the front wing has three flaps in the W15 car. The Mercedes engineers connected the upper flap to the nose of W15 with a small piece of carbon fiber. Moreover, the Mercedes front wing design has a lot of similarities to the “Y250 Vortex.” This type of front wing was available in the pre-2022 F1 cars. These front wings generally create more downforce. Hence, there is a good possibility that the governing body might ask Mercedes some questions regarding any rule violations. FIA might question if the particular design goes in line with their rules of making wheel-to-wheel racing and overtaking easier.

Recently, technical expert, Sam Collins explained the key elements of the unique front wing design of Mercedes. Firstly, Collins mentioned Mercedes has been very clever with their design. Moreover, Collins pointed out the outer element where there is the “Upper blade of the four bits of the front wing.” Collins said it is mainly a wire to meet the regulations, showing all the blades and elements are continuous. It has to go all the way through to the whole front wing structure. Moreover, the new front wing won’t have gaps or limitations or even slots that used to be there.

How The Silver Arrows Are Keeping It Legal?

Mercedes W15
Mercedes W15 Source: PlanetF1

During the F1 testing coverage, Sam Collins mentioned, as per Crash, that Mercedes went for an old version of front wings. Initially, people can look at the Sauber and question if the front wing design is legal. But at the outer end, there is “A bit of a linkage at the endplate.” That tiny black section keeps the design legal. As a result, the Silver Arrows took the concept and flipped it on its head.

Then, they cut away the whole inner section of the front wing. Moreover, Collins feel it will be extremely difficult for other teams to copy the design. Mainly, it’s because the front wing is very integral as it interacts with the rest of the car. According to Collins, the front wing has “A massive impact on the rest of the car.”

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