China: Mercedes new rear wing

Just as Ferrari have joined Sauber in trying to catch up with McLarens F-duct blown rear wing, Mercedes also appear to be in the early stages of testing their own solution.  While not as conclusive in proving there is an f-duct as with Ferraris bodywork, Mercedes do have a duct that links the main plane of the wing to the Flap.   However this may not be the complete solution, as there does not appear to be a duct linking this rear wing fin to the chassis.
Mercedes are one of the few teams (and Brawn before them) not to have raced a shark fin engine cover.  It could that either Mercedes are awaiting the shark fin cover to run the fully ducted flap and that this test was just a structural test for the now largely hollow slotted rear wing flap.  Or that their solution will duct the airflow up through a central wing support strut (currently absent on this car) or less likely through the wings endplates.  As this would mean the beam wing would also need to be hollow and some how connected to the F-duct.  As Mercedes run a fully exposed beam wing there is little connection between it and the chassis.
It also been noted that the Mercedes ran pipework from the front of the sidepods backwards towards the rear of the car and then up inside the rear wing endplate.  These are more likely to be wiring or pressure for sensors, than the duct itself as they are very narrow in gauge and unlikely to pass enough airflow to alter the rear wings aerodynamics.
Mercedes do have one advantage, their monocoque has usefully placed apertures by the side of the pedals, these holes have already sported scoops for driver cooling, these could be modified to be the driver interface with the duct to the rear wing.
It is not likely we will see the full Mercedes F-Duct solution until the other major updates arrive at the next race in Spain.
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6 thoughts on “China: Mercedes new rear wing

  1. All these different solutions for stalling the rear wing – I haven’t heard how much it improves their lap times? Are we talking 2/10 or something more drastic like 5/10? BTW, fantastic blog. I’m following you on twitter as well! Thanks!

    • Laptime improvement will vary by track. Of course China has a huge long straight, so the relative laptime benefit will be greater. I’d say its in the two tenths league, its not a half second gain. Maximum top speed gain is something 3-5 mph (with no downforce loss through the corners). McLaren have consistently shown 10kph advantage on the Red Bulls!

  2. Pingback: Conducto F según Ferrari, Mercedes y Williams

  3. Ok Scarbs here another question for you.

    I’ve been hearing some rumours that the McLaren F-duct is in fact a passive system. So no driver interference or duct that is connected with the air-intake. The duct on the car would be a fake and might just be a for cooling the driver.

    The idea is that the air would come through the airbox on to the rear wing and because of the extra air, it would create more downforce in slower corners and at high speed the intake would choke and no air would go through. This means they could decrease downforce and thus drag on the rear wing so they are quicker on the straights and the air coming throught would compensate this in the corners.

    Is this in fact possible? Ross Brawn said that their version of the F-duct worked in the wind tunnel and that they would implement it if it proved its value in free practice. They used it in the race so I don’t think it would be a test as suggested above, if it was a test they would just test it on friday or saturday.

    But do you believe it could be a passive rather than an active system?

    • No the Mclaren system is driver activated, Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed it, I have seen the duct with the the snorkel removed and you can then see the duct pass the drivers left elbow inside the cockpit. I think the secondary intake above the drivers head is purely for the oil cooler and in no way connected to the F-Duct.

      What puzzles me is that the duct has to vent into the cockpit to be legal, so in these rainy races, why aren’t the drivers getting wet legs?

      The Mercedes system is still a conundrum, I cant see how it can be an active system, as there is no where to route duct to it. We will know better when we get to Spain.

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