Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Video analysis: How Mercedes overhauled its 2017 F1 car

Mercedes introduced a raft of updates for the W08 at the Spanish GP, carefully revising almost every surface of the car as it went in search of additional performance to boost its challenge on Ferrari.

Giorgio Piola's exclusive video focuses on the key changes made to the two most significant parts of that upgrade - the nose and bargeboards.

Radical shift

The nose and especially the turning vanes are a radical departure from what we've seen in F1 before, with the nose used almost sacrificially in order to maximise the design of what the team internally refer to as the 'cape'.

Mercedes W08 narrow nose, Spanish GP
Mercedes W08 narrow nose, Spanish GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The nose introduced at the Spanish GP required a fresh crash test. It is much narrower than its predecessor, with a taper notable just ahead of where it fixes to the front of the chassis.

This narrowing of the nose allowed the designers more freedom with which to design surfaces that could manipulate the onward flow of air to an area of the car that has been opened up for development in 2017 - the bargeboards.

Mercedes W08 narrow nose, Spanish GP
Mercedes W08 narrow nose, Spanish GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The 'cape' is an extreme version of the turning vanes we see every team use up and down the grid and, whilst a trend had formed whereby the surfaces have being placed further and further forward, the new design implemented by Mercedes is a bold leap forward, placing its first conditioning edge just behind the nose pillars.

As the video shows, the cape is reminiscent of a Stingray when viewed from beneath – something that is further embellished by the location of the inlet 'mouth' which takes airflow and feeds it through the S-duct.

The bargeboards also saw significant optimization for the Spanish GP, with multiple surfaces revised to improve flow around the sidepods and floor.

The main vertical element was increased in height, capturing the additional flow presented to it by the cape.

Meanwhile, three 'r' shaped vanes were placed on the footplate, which itself is divided into three elements.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Article type Analysis
Topic Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis