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Formula 1

Gary Anderson explains Mercedes’ F1 front wing innovation

by Gary Anderson
2 min read

It emerged yesterday that the Mercedes Formula 1 car would have a new front wing for the Miami Grand Prix but it wasn’t until today that we saw the full detail of its innovative front-wing endplate – one that is very different to its rivals.

Normally, where the ends of the flaps meet up with the endplates the transition is a fairly simple radius. However, Mercedes has swept its rear two elements forward just before that transition.

Airflow Endplate W13 Miami

This opens up a much larger slot, which is marked with a yellow line.

Opening this slot further forward, as Mercedes has done, allows more airflow to pass through that opening. This is marked with blue arrows.

This airflow will connect up to the airflow that is displaced when the tyre rotates onto the track surface. This is commonly called tyre squirt and by increasing the amount of airflow that goes around the outside of the front tyre, it means there is less airflow going around the inside – effectively increasing the outwash.

The view of the inside of the endplate shows how Mercedes has achieved this innovative solution to the junction of the front wing flaps and endplate.

Lines Front Wing W13

The yellow line is the opening, as shown on the outside view, and the blue lines are the leading edge of the four elements.

As well as being twisted upwards, the outboard end of the most forward element is a shorter chord, allowing them to sweep the flaps forward to allow for the opening.

The objective here is to try to get the airflow that is being displaced by the front tyre to connect up again behind the front tyre.

Behind the front tyre, it is low pressure and fairly turbulent so anything you can do to fill up that void will reduce drag.

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