World champions Mercedes are fourth team that presented their new car for 2017, and the new W08 EQ Power + impresses in every way.
Mercedes dominated Formula 1 since 2014. new engine formula came into force winning 51 of the last 59 races.
The new technical regulations for 2017 offer new opportunity to all teams, but Mercedes is still the favorite to win the title and expectations from the new W08 are sky high. After the presentation of the new car is hard to say anything that would deny Mercedes as big favourite for both titles.
Mercedes W08 EQ + Power, which owes its name to technology label for all future Mercedes-AMG Hybrid models, has a nose without central extension, the bonnet without shark fin, complex aerodynamic elements in the area behind the front wheels and an extremely narrow and low rear end.
Force India technical director Andy Green has already sent a warning to Mercedes’ rivals after saying that Mercedes promised to staying ahead of the competition when it comes to their power unit which is improved ‘in all areas’.
Nose and front wing
Unlike the previous three noses of Sauber, Renault and Force India, Mercedes’ nose doesn’t have a central extension and swept in side sections for better airflow under the nose. It remanis faithful to their philosophy of low nose with homogeneous cross section (1) whose lower part is painted in black which is why it looks higher than it actually is.
Front wing pylons are still very thin, but their transition to the nose and front wing is now little bit smoother. Compared to last year’s nose, new is somewhat narrower, but still very similar to the predecessor.
The front wing is 150 mm wider than last year’s, but generally keeps a very similar geometry with a wider tunnel on the outer edges of the wing that helps direct airflow around the front wheels by creating powerful vortices.
The transition from 500 mm wide central section neutral towards peripheral areas is very sleek and slightly curved already at the beginning of the main plane (2), which helps forming vortices in this area, together with the upper elements. This vortex is called Y-250, extending from the middle of the front wing, 250 mm on each side, which combined gives exactly 500 mm (the width of the neutral section).
Main element forms three tunnels (3) with largest being the inner one which forms the increasing radius tunnel with upper elements of the front wing. Centre tunnel is flat and outside is places outside the endplate. Tunnels synchronously create vortices that help direct the airflow around the front wheels.
Wing has often seen r-fin (4) while the main cascade (5) carries an infrared camera to measure the temperature of the front tire (7). Complex intakes for cooling the front brakes (6) are again the target of intensive aerodynamic development since this area can be used for other purposes than just cooling the brakes.
Mandatory cameras (8) are now shorter and closer to the chassis, according to the new technical regulations.
Area behind the front wheels
This area is one of the key areas of development for the 2017 cars because this year teams have more space for putting various aerodynamic elements that play an important role in how the airflow travels to the rear end.
Area starts 430 mm behind the front wheel centreline (the same as the floor) and the team have decided to increase the wheelbase to make this useful space larger (also because 5% larger fuel tank).
Between the front wheels there is a pair of curved vertical vanes (1) which has horizontal section on the lower part cut into seven parts which help direct and shape the airflow arriving from the front wing to the other aero elements in the front of the sidepods
Behind the front wheels Mercedes places the main bargeboard (2) with serrated upper edge, often seen on the cars before 2009, which is connected to the vertical element near the beginning of the sidepods.
Behind the front suspension there are large boomerang-like fins (3) which direct and shape the airflow towards the sidepod air intakes and its organic design is reminiscent of some of the solutions before 2009. (elephant ears, horns, fins…).
Close to the number 44 on the top of the monocoque is a S-duct system exit which directs the airflow from the underside of the nose to the upper side of monocoque and thereby helps the airflow to remain better attached to the surface of the car which slightly increases the downforce and drag.
At the beginning of this area there is a pair of hanging vanes (5) just above the start of the flooring (6) which are used to precisely align the airflow under the monocoque towards the aerodynamic elements behind them.
Front suspension is a common push rod configuration with a double wishbone setup and the left and right suspension remain connected via hydraulic element that helps control the movement of the front end for more stable aerodynamic platform and thus aerodynamically more efficient car.
After teams meet to discuss controversial suspension systems Mercedes and Red Bull used in 2016., no agreement was reached and nobody really knows what exactly is allowed and what is not when it comes to suspension systems. Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says his team is not worried ahead of possible protests by rival teams in the first race of the season in Melbourne on March 26.
Sidepods and engine cover
Mercedes continued with aggressive treatment of airflow coming from the area behind the front wheel, especially close to the sidepod intakes where airflow must turn around the sidepod.
The sidepods (1) are wider at the front, but they narrow dramatically towards the rear. Mercedes placed three vertical vanes (2, 3 and 4) working in conjunction with the elements in front to help turn the airflow around the sidepods and clean the turbulent airflow coming from the rotating front wheels.
The main vertical vane (2) indicates the maximum permissible width of the sidepods (1600 mm) and it doesn’t connect with the floor underneath it, similar to the Force India VJM10. This vane continues over the upper surface of the sidepod where it shapes the airflow running down the sidepod to the rear wing with the help of the small vertical support.
In front of the main sidepod vane (2) there are two vertical vanes (3 and 4) which are connected to the first vane with the thin horizontal silver strake and also to the main bargeboard (5). Neither the main vane (2) or two vanes in front of it (3 and 4) extend to the edge of the floor beneath them, but they are curved at the bottom edge in the direction of airflow towards the sidepod intakes. The edge of the floor (6) is raised and curved to help the airflow travel attached around the sidepods with the help of a small horizontal parallel strake.
Mirror carriers are ‘J’ shaped (7),and in front of them is similiar element which mirrors the shape of mirror carriers.
Sidepod intakes (8) are very small and stretched in width in order to minimize interfering with the airflow underneath and around the sidepods.
Airbox shape is similar to last year’s W07 Hybrid and its broad shape is divided into three parts (9) with central triangular part forms the roll structure while the outer edges are curved. At the chamber entrance there are several air flow sensors (10) and on each side is attached one ultra-high resolution camera (11) which Mercedes uses for detailed examination of tyres behavior and which they regularly use in testing and free practices.
For the purposes of shooting promotional material (which is ostensibly ‘main objective’ of Mercedes’ Silverstone test) engineers attached another camera (12) in front of the drivers’ helmet.
Seen from above, the engine cover is incredibly narrow because the sidepods taper very early, like strongly defined muscles. Also, engine cover ramps down from the begining of the sidepods which helps efficiency of the 150 mm lower rear wing.
Although rivals reduced the gap to Mercedes in terms of engine power, the German manufacturer has remained a class for itself, especially in aggressive ways the engine is used for the race start, qualifying, overtaking and fast in and out laps.
Renault and Honda have completely changed the concept of their power units for 2017. in an attempt to reduce the gap to Mercedes, and Renault’s head of engine Remi Taffin said that they found about three tenths per lap over the winter.
But technical director Andy Green, who had seen all the details of the new Mercedes’ engine for 2017., says that Mercedes promised to increase the advantage they have in terms of engine power.
Mercedes’ head of engine department Andy Cowell says that they have made progress in every area with the same basic architecture of the ERS system as in 2014.
Also, they made a great improvement in terms of reliability thas should allow Hamilton and Bottas to push long and hard right from the start of testing.
Mercedes has improved cooling too, so drivers will be able to push more while MGU-H and MGU-K units are completely. Great evolution, says Andy Cowell.
Rear wing and rear end
Rear wing in 2017. season is wider and lower and its endplates (1) are inclined by 25 degrees viewed from the side. DRS mechanism (2) and rear wing pylon (3) are located on the middle of the main plane while the upper edges of the endplates have horizontal slits (4) that extend all the way to the front, as pioneered by Toro Rosso in 2016.
Thanks to a very narrow rear end Mercedes has created a lot of space on the floor in the rear end (5) where the longitudinal and horizontal bar is placed which will help bigger diffuser work more efficiently.
Along the floor edge in front of the rear wheel Mercedes put nine parallel horizontal slanted slits (6) that help insulate the air flow under the car of turbulence from rotating rear wheels.
The lower parts of the rear wing endplates (7) are curved according to the new rules, but Mercedes has kept the same configuration of the exhaust pipe (8) as on the last year’s W07.
The rear crash structure (9) and transmission were raised up to allow the diffuser (10) to be as large as possible in its central part.
The rear suspension is a pull rod configuration with a double wishbone setup while lower wishbone and driveshaft are located within the unique aerodynamically shaped surface.
Mercedes has tried an interesting solution in front of the rear wing, which is 375 mm wide on each side of the car centerline with a total width of 750 mm, corresponding to the width of the rear wing from 2009. to the end of 2016.
Engineers call it ‘T-wing’ (11), while Mercedes has not decided to use the ever-present shark fin engine cover fin which longitudinally separates the engine cover into two parts at a height of 950 mm but they announced that they will test it during the pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Mercedes is the only team in Formula 1 that use Advanti wheels made of magnesium alloy, and the design is similar to last year. The front wheels have ten spokes, but they are now hollow in the section closer to the center while the rear wheels are very similar to last year.