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Analysis - the inner workings of Mercedes’ S-duct

01 Apr 2016

Originally introduced to Formula One racing by Sauber in 2012 to improve airflow efficiency at the front of the car, the S-duct remains an ongoing source of fascination for the F1 designer - and hence continues to evolve in ever more intricate fashion.

This drawing from renowned technical illustrator Giorgio Piola shows us the rear of the Mercedes nosecone and highlights how the side openings at the front of the nose create two separate channels for the incoming airflow.

This means that the internal ramp up which the airflow travels as it passes from the base to the top of chassis is more efficient in shape compared to other teams’ more conventional designs.

As the two channels of air reach the rear of the nose, they transfer into corresponding pipework within the vanity panel (inset), which also covers the front suspension elements, neatly passing either side of the central pitot tube without disruption before exiting the chassis at the back of the panel.