Mercedes’ “genius” front wing design “not something you can just copy”

A closer look at Mercedes' unique - and perhaps controversial - front wing design.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day One.-, EMail:
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir,…

The front wing on the new Mercedes W15 has caught the attention of the whole paddock during the early stages of F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain.

Mercedes’ F1 front wing design is under intense scrutiny with some questioning whether it complies with the FIA’s rules or if it’s in the “spirit of the regulations”.

With F1 testing now underway in Bahrain, clearer images of the Mercedes front wing design have emerged.

The Mercedes front wing has three flaps with the upper flap connected to the nose with a small piece of carbon fibre.

Two of them are connected to the nose, with this design trying to recreate the ‘Y250 vortex’ - which the old generation of front wings (pre-2022) created, resulting in more downforce.

It’s likely the FIA will question whether this specific design is in line with the current rules to make overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing easier.

Speaking during F1’s testing coverage, technical expert Sam Collins explained the key differences between Mercedes’ unique design and a more standard concept used by Sauber.

“What Mercedes have done is really clever here is they’ve got this outer element, the upper blade of the four bits of the front wing,” he said. “It’s just essentially a wire is only there to meet the regulations saying that all those blades and elements have to be continuous all of the way through the entire front wing structure without gaps or limitations or slots that we used to see.

“Mercedes decided they wanted to have an old front wing. Looking at the Sauber, the upper element, the top blade of the front wing, that’s what everyone thought the rules should be but if you look at the outer end, there’s just a tiny bit of a linkage at the endplate.

“That little black section keeps that legal. Mercedes has taken that concept, flipped on its head and cut away that whole inner section of the front wing.

Collins doesn’t think that teams will be able to easily copy the design given how integral the front wing is in terms of interacting with the rest of the car.

“It’s something every team up and down the pit lane will be scurrying off into the wind tunnel to take a really close look at what the team is trying to do,” he added. 

“It’s not something you can just copy - it has a massive impact on all of the rest of the car.”

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