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What’s behind Mercedes’ new wavy-edged F1 design

The W13 features a nose with a domed surface and round tip that reaches forward over the front wing and connects with the mainplane.

The nose tip also features a panel that will likely allow the team to exchange the smooth panel currently installed for one with an inlet to cool the drivers when temperatures ramp up.

The mainplane itself dips down in the central region around the nose, in order to help divert airflow under the body of the nose and forward towards the underfloor and sidepods.

Mercedes W13 front wing detail

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

Once again it’s a four-element wing, as the team adopts the maximum pieces that the regulations permit. In terms of their makeup, the upper three elements are of a shorter chord than the mainplane.

Mercedes is also the most aggressive so far when it concerns the taper of the elements as they extend out from the nose into the loaded portion of the wing.

The adjustable sections of the wing, and the mechanism used to perform that function, have clearly been designed to maximize flow direction, given the regulations have taken away some of the tools that designers previously had to perform these duties.

Mercedes W13 front wing end plate detail

Mercedes W13 front wing end plate detail

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

The outer portion of the wing unloads as the regulations suggest it should but it’s where the flaps connect to the endplate that the real action is, with the team opting for a more squared off junction (red arrow). You can also see how this manifests itself at the rear element, with elements stepped back from the endplate (blue arrow).

The endplate also has a more distinctive triangular leading edge than we’ve seen elsewhere, which results in a shorter top edge and a domineering diveplane. The designers have also opted to place their infrared tire sensor on the upper front corner of the endplate, with aerodynamics clearly the decision behind its placement.

Mercedes W13 details

Mercedes W13 details

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

Mercedes W13 tunnel entrance detail

Mercedes W13 tunnel entrance detail

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

Mercedes has not opted for the snowplow or double splitter design we’ve seen others use just yet but it has narrowed the front section of the bib considerably, with it taking on more of a wedge shape that will likely result in any vortices shed from it being altered in response.

The floor features a full width tunnel either side of the chassis, not the narrower, upper floor feeding solution seen on the McLaren and Alfa Romeo, with three crescent shaped strakes protruding from the tunnel’s entrance.

Where it differentiates itself from those with the full-width variant we’ve already seen is the geometry of the leading edge and the strakes that protrude from it. You’ll note how the tunnel entrance is much higher alongside the chassis before it dips down quite steeply toward the edge wing, leaving a significant bluff surface.

The aforementioned edge floor wing (red arrow) is short in terms of its length, and tall in the forward section, but abbreviates quickly in order to match the geometry of the floor as it tapers away.

Mercedes W13 floor and sidepods

Mercedes W13 floor and sidepods

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

Mercedes W12 floor detail

Mercedes W12 floor detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This area of ​​floor has also been carefully crafted in this region in order that the airflow follows a more defined route around the lower half of the sidepods. The W13 also features a solution first seen on the W12 last season and subsequently abandoned in Merc’s Silverstone B-Spec upgrade package – the wavy edge.

In terms of the W13’s variant we’re seeing smaller waves, or upturns, at the front that grow in size further downstream. As with the ones used on its predecessor it’s expected that these direct flow outwards from under the floor to artificially increase the width of the floor, where ordinarily it would be disturbed by the front tire wake being pushed under the floor.

The overall design of the sidepod is a modified version of what we’ve seen the team use for the last few seasons, with a narrow, tall inlet used as they accommodate the revised regulations regarding the SIPS (Side Impact Protection Spars).

Unable to mount the upper spar as low as it has over the last few years, all of the teams have abandoned the high, shallow and wide inlet that Ferrari first introduced in 2017.

In the side view we can see how the Mercedes sidepod tilts inwards at the most forward section and how they’ve created a multi-geometry surface to both shrink wrap the internal components, whilst also offering a favorable design from an aerodynamic perspective.

The team has also designed a wing mirror stalk on the outer edge of the sidepod to create a long, outwardly-angled flow diverter that will work in combination with the high sidepod shoulder that also follows a similar geometry in order to try and push flow outboard .

The sidepods, as they have in the past, both taper down towards the floor but also undercut all the way to the rear of the car and the coke bottle region, where there’s a high waisted section and a very narrow cooling outlet which is currently the only one on the car.

This will likely increase in size, depending on the circuit they’re visiting, but might also be supplemented by the addition of cooling gills, which it has thus far opted not to deploy.

Mercedes W13 details

Mercedes W13 details

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

The inboard section of the floor features the double kick line design, as the team looks to improve the transition between the underfloor tunnels and the diffuser. In the lower outer section, the team managed to find a way to incorporate a short flow diverting strake ahead of the rear tyre.

As anticipated, based upon the design seen on the Aston Martin and Williams already, the W13 features a pullrod rear suspension layout.

The rear wing design differs from those we’ve seen elsewhere in some respects too, with the Mercedes design team opting for a W-shaped mainplane design that features an upturned leading edge in the central section. This upturned leading edge is separated by a single mounted pillar which is also conjoined with the DRS actuator pod.

Mercedes W13 rear wing detail

Mercedes W13 rear wing detail

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

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