Mercedes F1 gravel experiments hint at changes in 2023

These were fitted to test driver Nyck de Vries’ W13 as he completed his duties in FP1 as part of each team’s requirement to field a young driver.

Now that Mercedes has understood the key weaknesses of the W13, they are using this phase of the season to run some experiments that may help them find their best path for next year’s challenger.

As a result of his push, the new floor shown above features several adjustments. These include the geometry of the fences that protect the entrance to the venturi tunnels and the inclusion of a vertical baffle at the front of the wing, connecting the two sections and preventing the wing from moving too much under load (red arrow).

The edge wing shifted forward area was not only shifted more generously in the update, but also moved and realigned the bump, which supports flow direction.

Terrain detail Mercedes W13, Mexico City GP, FP1, Nyck de Fries

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The de Vries car’s floor course did not feature the design aspects of the new racing floor around the lip of the spoiler (white arrows above).

Instead, these appear to be more of a response to Mercedes’ current setup, with the team focusing on the design of the floor and fences upstream. This, in turn, affects the performance envelope of the downstream floor and diffuser.

While the underside of the floor is not visible, the external experiments include a profile change for the exterior floor and floor bar, squeezing the surface further inwards and changing the shape of the ramp.

Interestingly, this follows a general pattern seen in the second half of the season, with numerous teams, including Alpine and Alfa Romeo, opting to tweak this section and change the volume allowed at the bottom by changing the Raise ramp externally.

The ground was not the only experiment carried out by Mercedes, as the team ran both cars in different aerodynamic settings during Friday’s free practice sessions in Mexico.

George Russell’s W13 featured his high downforce rear wing, complete with Gurney flap on the trailing edge, plus the newer spec front wing that first appeared at the United States Grand Prix, minus the controversial clips split slot.

Detail of the front wing of the Mercedes W13, Mexican GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

From an aerodynamic standpoint, the slotted eliminators were thought to be doing too much heavy lifting, as that was their primary function rather than supporting the two elements they were attached to.

Mercedes had removed the spacers but retained the new fin and end plate design which is also intended to increase the level of wash that can be produced.

On the other side of the garage, the rear wing did not feature a trailing edge stretcher and several versions of the old front wing entered service, all with varying degrees of trailing edge trimming on the upper wings.

Having collected the necessary data on Friday, the team entered both cars with the newer specification front wing and the stretcher on the trailing edge of the rear wing for qualifying and the race.

Detail of the front spoiler of the Mercedes W13

Photo by: Giorgio Piola


Author: Shariq Mir

This is Shariq Mir years of experience in the field of journalism, Shariq Mir heads the editorial operations of the Elite News as the Executive Producer.

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