Mercedes' weekend in Miami may not have been its most successful, but the Silver Arrows brought a multitude of fresh components for their stubborn W13. Giorgio Piola gives technical demonstrations while Mark Hughes analyzes these new components and their effect.
Mercedes debuted a three-part aerodynamic improvement for their problematic W13 during the team's perplexing Miami weekend.
These were not intended as precise solutions to the vehicle's widely known porpoising issues. Two of the three modifications were specific low-downforce packages, while the third was a generic enhancement that is anticipated to remain on the vehicle even on higher-downforce courses.
Regarding the low-downforce portion of the kit, a new rear wing and beam wing were installed. The upper wing had a mainplane with a substantially smaller surface area and a straight leading edge. This was planned alongside a beam wing with a significantly smaller top part.
The beam wing distributes airflow from the bottom portion of the vehicle to the underside of the mainplane above, so increasing the wing's efficiency. The more a wing works to generate downforce, the more drag it will generate. In both the reduced area of the mainplane and the smaller upper part of the beam wing, minimizing drag has taken precedence above maximizing downforce.
Mercedes' Director of Trackside Engineering, Andrew Shovlin, provided further information: "On prior low-drag circuits this year, we simply reduced our current wing. However, this one is developed expressly for this kind of downforce. In addition, when we redesigned them, we made them lighter, allowing us to remove additional weight from the vehicle."
The W13, like the majority of 2022 vehicles, exceeds the minimal weight restriction, and the diet is ongoing.
But perhaps more intriguing than the low-downforce package was the revised front wing endplate, which included a rather radical redesign of the slots at the bottom edge that channel airflow from the wing components out through the sides and around the tire.
The whole bottom rear corner of the endplate had been diagonally removed to expose more of the wing components, enabling those parts to direct a greater quantity of air outward. A tiny cutout at the extreme outboard end of the wing's upper part looks to be a vortex generator, which helps to increase the energy of the redirected airflow.
The more forceful the outwash, the cleaner the airflow to the car's underfloor and sidepods should be. Mercedes appears to have discovered a particularly innovative interpretation of the new regulations on endplate design, which is a big worry for all teams now that the bargeboards have been abolished.