Mercedes experiments as a harbinger of 2023

(Motorsport-Total.com) – Mercedes drove a new chassis at the Formula 1 event in Austin and then followed it up with experimental tests in Mexico. These were with test driver Nyck de Vries, who completed one of the two mandatory rookie training sessions.

The Mercedes chassis was completely rebuilt in Austin

Enlargement

Mercedes have recognized the weaknesses of the W13 and are using this stage of the season to carry out some experiments to help determine the best path for the car for next year.

The new bottom pictured above features several improvements as a result of this push. These include the geometry of the fences guarding the entrance to the venturi tunnels and the incorporation of a vertical bulkhead at the front of the wing that connects the two sections and prevents the wing from moving too much under load (red arrow).

Meanwhile, the forward-rolled section of the rim wing has not only been generously rolled, but the strut has also been relocated and realigned to aid the direction of flow.

Mercedes chassis

Nyck de Vries drove a new variant in Mexico Enlargement

The undercarriage used on the De Vries car did not have the design aspects of the new undercarriage used around the outer wing (white arrows, top).

Instead, they appear to be more of a reaction to Mercedes’ current configuration, with the team focusing on the design of the underbody and fences at the front. This in turn will affect the performance of the underbody and rear diffuser.

And while we can’t see what the team has done where the real magic happens – on the underside of the floor – it’s clear that their experiments include changing the profile of the underbody and the outer floorboard, with the surface pushed inwards more and the shape of the ramp changed.

Mercedes chassis

The changes should be useful for 2023 Enlargement

Interestingly, this follows the general pattern we saw in the second half of the season. Many teams, including Alpine and Alfa Romeo, have chosen to change the clearance on the underside by raising the ramp on the outside.

Various aerodynamic configurations

The chassis wasn’t the only experiment Mercedes carried out, however, as the team tested both cars with different aerodynamic configurations during free practice in Mexico on Friday.

The George Russell W13 featured a high downforce rear wing with a Gurney rear wing and a newer front wing first used at the US Grand Prix. However, the controversial “slot separators”, i.e. the small struts that connect the upper wing leaves to each other, have been abandoned.

Mercedes front wing

There was a dispute about “space separators between slots”. Enlargement

The team’s governing body and competitors were concerned that the struts were doing too much aerodynamically and were not there to support the two elements they were attached to.

Mercedes removed the struts but kept the new flap and endplate design, which also aims to increase the amount of washout that can be generated.

Mercedes front wing

For Mexico, Mercedes removed the struts Enlargement

On the other side of the garage, the rear wing had no trailing edge, and several versions of the old front wing were used, with the trailing edge of the upper flaps cut to varying degrees.

When the team gathered the necessary data on Friday, both cars were fitted with a newer front fender and rear wing trailing edge chassis for qualifying and the race.

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