Mercedes continues to firmly believe in the W13 project. In Belgium, Brackley was the team that presented itself with the major modifications to the single-seater, going well beyond the simple adjustment of the load level to the characteristics of the Belgian track. The Silver Arrows were in fact provided with a fund revisited in the entrance section of the Venturi canaltherefore going to intervene directly on the underbody, a central area for the competitiveness of contemporary Formula 1.
Brackley’s engineering department redesigned the grille at the inlet section of the Venturi ducts. The external band has a reduced chord, thus being characterized by a minor outward bending e facilitating a greater channeling of air in the Venturi channel towards the diffuser, seeking greater load generation. For the same purpose, the various central elements of the grill of the Venturi themselves have been redesigned to optimize the induction of vortexes in the underbody and the swirling structure as a whole.
Once again, Mercedes is characterized by a different approach to development than the competition. In fact, the underbody represents the area in which the aerodynamic load is directly generated, but at the same time the design of the sides conditions the channeling of the flows towards the rear and the outlet section of the diffuser, thus determining the functioning of the bottom itself. McLaren, Williams and Aston Martin revolutionized the philosophy of the sides in the first place, as porpoising limited the potential of the previous architectures and the pull-out load from the bottom. Mercedes on the other hand, despite having to manage an extremely tapered car body and particularly limited in its porpoising operation, continues to focus development on the fund without rejecting its own setting of the sides.
The hypotheses on the table are many. It cannot be excluded that the Brackley team is studying a radically different car in a 2023 key, dedicating a large part of its resources to it and thus avoiding overturning the current car. Equally plausible however is that the team still has faith in the tapered bellies conceptreinforced by the technical directive on the plank and the changes made to the next regulations that will reduce the sensitivity to porpoising, thus helping the Anglo-German team to extract the maximum potential from the current concept.
While waiting to find out the technical direction taken by the team for the near future, interventions continue to be recorded in other areas of the car. The transition connection between the flaps and the vertical strips of the endplates has been refined on the front wing, in an attempt to reduce pressure peaks and losses, as well as the quality of the flow directed towards the car body. At the rear instead, check a new low-load wing, different from those used so far. The wing keeps the main profile straight, but the upper flap has been modified in the chord and in the incidence. In parallel, the external vertical strips of the endplates have been redesigned and in the new specification have a straight rear edge and no longer broken as before.
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