Mercedes tested a new rear wing assembly at Barcelona Formula 1 testing on Friday with a wing profile that looks very similar but a different mounting structure.
The new version is a single mounting pillar structure, compared to the twin pillar design used from the start of testing.
The reason for Mercedes trialling a single-pillar version is that it reduces the blockage to the airflow.
The centre of the wing has the actuator for the DRS on top of it, then below is the wing pillar so you have one line of blockage – meaning perhaps only 2.5cm width of blockage in total.
But there are two downsides to this. Firstly, you have to make the bottom of the support a Y-shape to go around the exhaust pipe, which the rules say must be on the centreline of the car, so this creates some complication and added weight.
Secondly, you also have to support the wing with the rear wing endplates to stop it from vibrating as even though structurally a central pillar will hold it won’t be so stable.
As the endplates have a kink in them where they are allowed to be wider at a certain point, it is harder to get them strong enough to give the straightline support.
This also adds weight, and the last thing you need is weight behind the rear tyres because it makes the inertia of the car hire.
The new rear wing, which Mercedes has taken on and off, will give a slight aero improvement but overall also probably a heavier package.