Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front wing detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front wing detail

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Development at Mercedes has been in overdrive this season, as it looks to extend its lead over rivals. The package of parts that arrived at the German GP to coincide with its 125 years of motorsport celebrations was a significant one, with a revised front wing, brake duct, a new winglet behind the suspension leg, revised bargeboards, sidepod deflectors, new sidepod and engine cover bodywork, revised floor slots, diffuser and lastly – and perhaps most importantly – a new rear wing.

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 rear wing detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 rear wing detail

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The rear wing endplate design used in Germany is a new development path for Mercedes and surely one that their rivals will look to develop too. This new sawtooth style cutout behind the wing planes is in response to the regulatory upheaval for 2019. The rear wing assembly not only became taller and wider, which resulted in a proportionate drag increase, the louvres in the forward upper corner were no longer allowed either. The louvres, a design that began to populate the grid in the mid 2000’s were used to alter the pressure gradient at the tip juncture and alter the vortex that’s created.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90

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Photo by: Andrew Hone / LAT Images

This turbulent flow structure has been easier to see this year (here on Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari), as the swirl of chaotic air manifests at the rear wing’s tip. Previously, due to the work done by the louvres and rear cutouts, this vortex could only really be seen in the right climatic conditions and goes to show just how much harder the air is now being worked.

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 technical detail

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 technical detail

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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In an effort to dampen this tip vortex, improve downforce and reduce drag, Mercedes added two additional tips in an enlarged cutout. This creates two smaller vortices that will merge with the core vortex, altering its properties. In an effort to increase downforce and reduce drag all of the teams utilise strakes that hang down on the outer edge of the of the bounding box. Several teams also use upwash strakes that coerce the trajectory of the localised airflow. As part of this redesign Mercedes have deliberately added an additional row of staggered strikes, improving its aerodynamic relationship with the sawtooth cutouts, especially in yaw.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10

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Photo by: Jerry Andre / Sutton Images

Mercedes’ never-ending pursuit of performance must be unnerving to the rest of the grid, as the introduction of this package signals the fourth distinct total iteration from the silver arrows since the start of the year, a D-Spec if you will. However, whilst visually impressive the performance ramifications of Mercedes update package are yet unknown, but information from the team suggests they expect a 0.5s second gain.