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Tech insight - Mercedes test a first in front wing development

01 Oct 2016

Mercedes’ rivals will be hoping that 2017’s major rule changes might provide a chance to leapfrog the world champions. What is certain is that the Silver Arrows are already doing everything in their powers to prevent that…

On Friday in Malaysia they briefly trialled an interesting development obviously aimed at next season - and one never seen before. Shown above, this new front wing looks unremarkable at first glance. Look closer and you will see the endplate is totally separate to the main plane (red arrow, yellow highlight). Not dissimilar concepts have been used before on rear wings - Toro Rosso introduced open gills at the top of their rear endplates, an idea then copied by Sauber, and seen at Sepang on the McLaren. However, at the front it is far more difficult, with huge implications for stiffness and flexibility - something that is rigorously checked with a specific FIA deflection test. The advantages will come from the solution’s sophistication in controlling the airflow vortices on the side of the wing.