Mercedes are aiming to bounce again from a troublesome season final 12 months with the brand new W14, however a take a look at their launch automobile hints that the Silver Arrows have continued with the idea of this automobile’s unique-looking predecessor. F1 technical professional Mark Hughes examines why… With their new F1 W14, Mercedes hope they’ve taken the great bits of final 12 months’s problematical W13 – specifically excellent high-speed downforce – however eradicated the bouncing and porpoising which so restricted its potential and made it such a troublesome drive. READ MORE: Mercedes clarify alternative of bare carbon for brand spanking new W14 F1 automobile The W14 retains lots of the earlier automobile’s extremely individualistic particulars, such because the slender vertical inlets for the radiators, the intensive space of uncovered ground, and using the uncovered higher ‘sis bar’ (the aspect influence bar) to direct airflow downwards onto the highest of the sidepods. However the decrease sidepod contours have been smoothed out in profile, fattened in direction of the entrance and elongated in direction of the again. The sidepods now not merge indistinctly with the engine cowl however as an alternative are separated by a excessive cooling cannon which carries the expelled air from the radiators and exits it out the again, both aspect of the exhaust. This has diminished the necessity for the large cooling louvres on the sidepod prime (though there’s in all probability the choice there to introduce louvres for the warmer races).
W14 (above) and W13 (beneath) in contrast. The ‘zero’ sidepod has grown just a little, elongated in direction of the rear and with smoother downward contours on the entrance. The cooling route for the spent radiator air is now fairly totally different, with a ‘cannon’ part of bodywork between sidepod and engine cowl exiting on the again both aspect of the central exhausts and with much less sidepod prime louvres.
Technical director Mike Elliott admitted: “Final 12 months there have been occasions once we had been questioning ourselves and asking have we made a serious mistake, do we have to change what we’re essentially doing? However for those who tear all of it up and begin once more, you’re going to start out additional again than the place you might be. “It’s higher to take the automobile you’ve acquired and construct on it. Though we had loads of issues with the automobile final 12 months, there was additionally loads of goodness within the automobile, there have been issues it did nicely. You must watch out to not throw these issues away by beginning once more.” GALLERY: Take a better take a look at the Mercedes W14 2023 F1 automobile and livery These ideas had been underlined by staff boss Toto Wolff: “Now we have analysed it backwards and forwards and as you may see the sidepods are nonetheless very totally different to every other automobile. We imagine this isn’t a performance-relative half. Clearly, there is no such thing as a such factor as a holy cow. “We’re all the pieces. These are the primary iteration of the sidepods and after just a few races they may in all probability change just a little. However as Mike says, for those who change an idea you may find yourself going three steps backwards to take two forwards. I like the truth that we stayed daring and continued to comply with what the science says for us.”
Entrance nook of W14 (L) and W13 (R) sidepods in contrast. The uncovered higher aspect influence beam is used, as earlier than, to direct airflow all the way down to the decrease uncovered ground, accelerating that airflow and giving it additional power because it travels to the rear of the automobile, aiding downforce.
So there was no swap to the extra traditional Crimson Bull bodywork geometry which most groups are actually following – nor to the Ferrari’s. As an alternative Mercedes have opted for an aerodynamic evolution of their preliminary response to the bottom impact laws, one which is able to virtually actually entail an developed underfloor design too. However there are important mechanical modifications, which the staff hope will get them out of the nook they’d boxed themselves into with final 12 months’s automobile. ANALYSIS: Are the elements in place for Ferrari to lastly deliver title glory again to Maranello? Probably the most important of those – a very new rear suspension (albeit nonetheless pullrod) – wasn’t actually on present on the launch earlier than the automobile was taken off to Silverstone for its shakedown. However the goal was to provide the automobile a much bigger vary of suspension journey in order to not require the super-stiff settings to stabilise the aero platform, which was a serious a part of the bouncing drawback. If Mercedes are right of their evaluation that the boundaries to fixing final 12 months’s aerodynamic difficulties had been mechanical, then we must always lastly see the true potential of this very distinctive aerodynamic idea.