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How Mercedes Created the Fastest F1 Car Ever – Motorsports

Mercedes will unleash the new W12 on Tuesday. This is a continuation of last year’s title win W11.

Originally intended to be the last of its generation, the Mercedes team poured resources into the W11 as it not only refined its own concept, but also embraced other concepts. It also featured an innovative solution that attracted a lot of attention from F1 fans and other paddock.

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Perhaps it’s a good time to dig under the cover of W11 and explore the internal mechanics of one of F1’s most dominant machines.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W10

Photo: Mercedes AMG

Mercedes AMG F1

Mercedes AMG F1

Photo: Mercedes AMG

Compared to the 2019 Mercedes W10 (upper left), the W11 side pods received a lot of attention during the off-season. Mercedes was the last person to adopt Ferrari’s first concept in 2017 and had to shift the side crash structure low to improve the aerodynamics of the car.

The 2017 season was the first time we had real freedom in where teams could be placed since the side impact structure was introduced in 2014. Ferrari used this to reposition and improve the flow around and inside the car. This also allowed us to reduce the size of the radiator as a result.

Mercedes subsequently chose a higher side pod inlet to reduce airflow interruptions from the suspension into the radiator.

W11 smart DAS innovation

Pre-season testing is a great opportunity to see the new car batch accelerating for the first time and study the various development directions the team has made. The test was being broadcast to viewers at home, and as a result, the car was also equipped with an onboard camera. For Mercedes, this meant that the system it had been working on for some time was instantly discovered.

The footage on the W11 shows that the Mercedes driver pushes the steering wheel straight back and forth, consistent with changes in toe angle-revealing Mercedes’ two-axis steering system (DAS). Did.

All this was made possible by the new steering assembly, which required innovative thinking from the team.

Mercedes had the system in mind for some time, but had to jump over some hoops before the FIA ​​considered it legal. For example, the previous iteration of DAS that the team presented to the Governing Body was activated by a button on the steering wheel. The FIA ​​contacted the team about the operating parameters of the system and argued that the steering function needed to be paired with the inputs related to steering wheel movement.

The team unexpectedly tried to find a way to do this, but also noted that the weight of the system would increase and nothing would be added.

The increased movement of the tire rubber allowed the driver to heat the front tires faster, making the system even more valuable and more frequent than initially expected throughout the season. It was. Cars and red flags will resume more than usual – probably because the calendar has been revised.

In addition to these new inclusions, the W11 was packed with new and interesting features.

More than it looks

Of particular pride for 2020 was the decision to reshape the wishbones in the rear suspension and secure the rear legs far behind the crash structure than usual.

The main reason for this was to improve aerodynamics by moving the arm to a more desirable position for the passage of airflow in the channel next to the diffuser at the outer edge. Inner mounting points have also been placed to reduce airflow bottlenecks where the diffuser ceiling is lifted to fit the crash structure and underside of the gearbox.

This is off the back of the team that has already raised the inner mounting point of the pull rod in 2019 for the same reason.

For 2020, Mercedes was also paying close attention to the front brake assembly, looking at ways to further increase its aerodynamic needs. This arose in response to the shortage of aerodynamic furniture allowed in the front wing due to the new regulations introduced in 2019.

Mercedes did not use blow axles under the old ruleset when allowed, but knowing that it can still reduce the wake turbulence caused by the front tires, how to reproduce this effect I considered it.

To do this, we expanded the design of the brake bell and reshaped the drill holes to allow more air flow to escape from the wheel surface. In conjunction with a larger inlet scoop and a highly intentionally shaped crossover pipe, the captured airflow can be more accurately distributed to alter the turbulent wake generated by the tire.

The result of these changes is the ability to make changes to the gable and floor, all of which are built on the design implemented in the predecessor’s car.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11

Photo: Zak Mauger / Motor sports image

Overcome adversity

With the Australian Grand Prix canceled, it will take months more than originally planned for the car to spin the wheels in a competitive rage. This helped Mercedes get out of restraint due to a powertrain problem during the test.

Mercedes, which was able to make corrections prior to the opening round of the Austrian Grand Prix Red Bull Ring, was guaranteed to be more reliable, but there were still issues to be resolved.

Known for its more aggressive curbs than the weird front wing, the Red Bull Ring is about 700 meters above sea level and affects brakes and power units.

The manufacturer has been testing the power unit at Dino for hours, but due to the lean air, the team has to sacrifice aerodynamic performance for additional cooling. But another factor that seemed to stumble Mercedes at the opening event, as the vibrations from the curb confused the gearbox and the sensors attached to it.

The driver was told by the pit wall to avoid the curb at any cost in the first race of the season. This took them a fair amount of lap time, which resulted in the field catching up on the closing stage. As a result, Hamilton was demoted to 4th place after finishing 2nd in the race after being penalized for 5 seconds in a collision with Alex Albon.

As a short-term solution, given that the two races are very close together, the team rerouted and shielded some of the cables passing through the gearbox.

Again, the driver was warned to stay away from the curb. This was accompanied by a lap time penalty, but Mercedes won another 1-2 and finished 20 seconds from the nearest Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1, 3rd place, Barteribotta, Mercedes-AMG F1, 2nd place, congratulate each other on the grid after running donuts

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1, 3rd place, Barteribotta, Mercedes-AMG F1, 2nd place, congratulate each other on the grid after running donuts

Photo: Glenn Dunbar / Motor sports image

Mercedes will stop development early

Development was still supplied through the opening race, but relatively speaking, Mercedes stood still. On the other hand, Red Bull, who seems to have thrown the sink at RB16, seems to have caught up with his rivals and may have misunderstood the direction of this season.

In addition, spending more time developing the W12 earlier than planned will definitely give more room for the 2022 Challenger. Especially this year, we will be hit by a new sliding scale for the use of wind tunnels and CFDs.

As a champion, Mercedes has only 90% of the time allotted, but competitors gradually increase, depending on how far they have completed their orders. Over time, we will see how this slows progress, both short-term and long-term, with the goal of changing rules to narrow the sector-wide performance deficit.

Anyway, the W11 can be considered the fastest F1 car to have won the championship so far. But has the reduction in downforce purchased by the new regulations spurred Mercedes to become even greater?

– Motorsports

How Mercedes Created the Fastest F1 Car Ever

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