until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

What Mercedes’ toned-down new F1 front wing still achieves

by Gary Anderson
2 min read

It looks like the Mercedes Formula 1 team has conceded its new front wing with multiple slot gap separators angled outwards to generate outwash did go a bit further than the regulations defined.

The wing appeared in the Austin paddock but was not used during the United States Grand Prix weekend, and Mercedes admitted it had an “exchange” with the FIA about the design.

The revised version that will be used in Mexico practice does not have the separators. In that area Mercedes has more or less gone back to what it ran previously.

However there are other details on the revised wing endplate that will alter how it sets up the flow structure for the aerodynamic surfaces that are coming along behind it.

The increased twist in the trailing edge of the endplate (red line) is the most noticeable. This should allow for the trailing edge of the ski ramp section (blue line) to be wider, increasing the amount of airflow it can pull upwards, which in turn will pull more flow through the opening in the bottom rear corner of the endplates.


This bottom rear corner detail, which has swept the ends of the intersection of the flaps to the endplate forward, was introduced quite a few races ago. It itself sets up a stronger vortex further forward than most other designs, and this vortex then connects up with the tyre squirt – which is what happens when the tyre rotates onto the track surface.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Miami Grand Prix Practice Day Miami, Usa

If this all works together it will increase the outwash. The loss of the upper surface turning vanes that have now been removed will be detrimental to its overall performance but getting 50% of the benefit is better than getting none of it.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Mexican Grand Prix Preparation Day Mexico City, Mexico

As I have said before, if the FIA really wants to reduce the potential for the teams to create outwash concepts then it should simply make the wing 100mm narrower on each side. This would move this area of flow optimisation to more or less the middle of the front tyre, and as a side benefit it might also just reduce the number of front wing endplates we see damaged in first lap skirmishes.

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