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Why W15 F1 car shows Mercedes keeps doing things its own way

This is proven once again by some of the design choices it has made with its latest challenger, the W15.

That’s not to say Mercedes hasn’t taken notice of trends that have emerged over the past two seasons, or that it has clung to the zeropod route for a third year running. But rather than copy and paste the inlet design from the Red Bull RB19, as many others have, Mercedes has taken a different approach, likely learning some big lessons from the B-Spec configuration of the W14.

The first notable absentee in this arrangement when compared with last season’s design is upper side-impact spar (SIS) fairing, which in previous iterations had been flung forward of the sidepod and inlet to serve its own aerodynamic purpose.

In compliance with this, the cockpit also sat forward relative to the position of its rivals’ designs and closer to the front axle, something that Lewis Hamilton was highly vocal about, given some undesirable traits it caused.

2023 Mercedes W14 and 2024 Mercedes W15 driver position comparison

2023 Mercedes W14 and 2024 Mercedes W15 driver position comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes has set about rectifying this for 2024, moving the cockpit back by around 100mm which has obviously resulted in other changes made to chassis and fuel tank. But it does come with the advantage of the lower forward section of the chassis being narrower where it meets with the floor, increasing the available volume in the forward portion of the underfloor.

As part of the overhaul, the team has chosen to employ a P-shaped sidepod inlet, which reaches forward in the lowermost section, while providing ample room in the undercut section for air to migrate to the rear of the car, as it has been extended rearwards to the reach the downsloping section at the rear of the bodywork.

Mercedes W15 sidepods & floor

Mercedes W15 sidepods & floor

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

The floor’s edge, which is exposed more by the undercut, and the edge wing shown is like the one used in the closing stages of 2023. That’s not to say there won’t be more development here in the coming weeks and months though, as teams seemed to focus their attention here last season in conjunction with any changes being made to the underfloor.

The down-sloping sidepod bodywork is not only wide in the upper half, it retains the gentle waterslide solution we saw introduced with the B-Spec arrangement in 2023, albeit modified to suit its new surroundings. This includes a revised layout for the engine cover outcropping, which no longer features the deep gully that its predecessor did.

But as is now almost universal, the shelf-like bodywork extends back from the halo to the rear cooling outlet, which is directed down towards the beam wing.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W15

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W15

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

Crucially, at the rear of the car, Mercedes has made a change that we already knew was taking place, owing to the launch of the Williams FW46 and Aston Martin AMR24 that preceded it as both teams purchasing their hardware from Mercedes. The W15 also sports push-rod rear suspension for this season, rather than pull-rod, resulting in a total overhaul of the mechanical and aerodynamic packaging at the rear of the car.

The change obviously comes with some tradeoffs but inevitably any gains that can be made aerodynamically will trump any small mechanical inefficiencies, which in this case will likely provide more scope within the allowable volume boxes to better design the underfloor, diffuser and upper floor surfaces.

Having already talked about the novel flap design seen on the W15’s front wing, it’s safe to say that the assembly also carries the outboard features that made the W14’s front wing relatively unique and aid in generating outwash.

Meanwhile, the flaps have all been completely overhauled to take advantage of the new, shorter nose, including a drooping central section to the mainplane.

Mercedes W14 front detail

Mercedes W14 front detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 front suspension detail

Mercedes W14 front suspension detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The front suspension has also been tailored to the new aerodynamic set-up, with the push-rod layout retained, while the changes made to the car at Monaco last season have been taken into account.

Therefore, the lead arm of the upper wishbone finds a home high on the chassis, and the remainder of the fairings have been refined to create a better passage for the airflow through that region.

Notably, the team has also abandoned the chassis blister arrangement that was introduced on the W13 and used on the W14 too.

At the rear of the car, Mercedes has seemingly changed tack when it comes to the tip section arrangement of the rear wing, with the solution first seen on the Aston Martin AMR23 and subsequently introduced by Mercedes at the Dutch GP abandoned and replaced with a similar solution to the one introduced by Alpine at the Monaco GP.

Mercedes W15 rear wing

Mercedes W15 rear wing

Photo by: Mercedes AMG



This article was originally published by a www.autosport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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