Formula 1
Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
41 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
Race in
55 days
09 May
Next event in
59 days
23 May
Race in
76 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
90 days
13 Jun
Race in
97 days
27 Jun
Race in
111 days
04 Jul
Next event in
115 days
18 Jul
Race in
132 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
146 days
29 Aug
Race in
174 days
05 Sep
Race in
181 days
12 Sep
Race in
188 days
26 Sep
Race in
202 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
206 days
10 Oct
Race in
216 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
230 days
31 Oct
Race in
237 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
258 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
272 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
279 days

Mercedes considering high-rake concept for 2018 F1 car

Mercedes is considering switching to a high-rake concept with its Formula 1 car in 2018, as it bids to eradicate the 'diva' characteristics of its current machine.

Mercedes considering high-rake concept for 2018 F1 car
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 battle for the lead at the start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Mercedes AMG F1 W08 diffuser detail
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, passes Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, at the start
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 crosses the line to take the chequered flag and Second place

The German car manufacturer has faced a tricky time to fully get on top of the balance of its long-wheelbase W08 throughout this season.

While it has worked brilliantly at some high-speed tracks like Silverstone and Monza, it has struggled at other venues with tighter corners – like Monaco, Hungary and Singapore.

Although some of that performance swing between tracks is explained by the car having a longer wheelbase than its closest rivals, the team thinks that other characteristics may have a bigger part to play in its performance.

One area being evaluated in the final races of the season is whether or not Mercedes should pursue the aero concept put to good use by Red Bull of a high rake car.

It was interesting to note that Mercedes was spotted making major changes to its suspension set-up in Brazil last weekend, which could have been related to trials of the high-rake concept.

Ground effect

By running the front of the car low and the rear high, it is possible to create a form of ground effect through a combination of the front wing sealing the airflow and the diffuser performing better because there is more air flowing underneath it.

Getting the front of the car as low to the ground as possible is a challenge though, because the floor car bottom out around the 'tea-tray' area.

The arrival of titanium skid blocks in 2014 was partly motivated to deter teams from high rake approaches, but Red Bull has since been able to recover ground in this area.

It is understood that Mercedes has begun experiments with higher rake angles now that the championships are won, and it was noticeable that its car was seen sparking in Brazil as it floor touched the ground more than is normal.

Wheelbase remains

One of the biggest concept differences between Ferrari and Mercedes this year has been the wheelbase of the car.

Mercedes has gone much longer with its W08, an approach that it felt would pay off over the course of the season despite it meaning its car would not be as well suited to tighter tracks

Despite the possible change to a high rake car, the Brackley-based team remains confident that the length of its car works well – which is why there is unlikely to be any significant change on this front for 2018.

Niki Lauda, Mercedes' non-executive chairman, told Gazzetta dello Sport last weekend that wheelbase was not a factor in its performance.

"The length was never a problem. It was aerodynamics," he said. "There have been times when the car behaved in a fantastic way, and other times not.

"We have not yet fully understood it and that is what we have to correct for 2018. The rules are not changing so, having a good starting point, it will be easier to solve certain troubles."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said recently that his team needed to ensure that any changes it made for next year must not sacrifice the strengths of the car.

"We would like to keep the characteristics of the diva that we like, but getting rid a little bit of the difficulties," he said.

"What you can see through the grid is that many people struggle in understanding why the car functions one day and not the other. We've seen it with our competitors as well.

"So, there is a car development process now to identify the root causes of why we struggle and try to avoid it with next year's car. Obviously we are quite far down the process of designing the car."

He added: "We don't believe that any of the characteristics on the more difficult days have anything to do with the longer wheelbase. We see with the Red Bull and Ferraris that they have good days and bad days."

shares
comments
Melbourne considered bold track tweak to boost overtaking

Previous article

Melbourne considered bold track tweak to boost overtaking

Next article

Williams says Stroll hurt by power deficit in Brazil

 Williams says Stroll hurt by power deficit in Brazil
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
The defining traits that set F1’s best apart Prime

The defining traits that set F1’s best apart

What makes the very best drivers in Formula 1 stand out among what is already a highly elite bunch? Andrew Benson takes a closer look at those with the special blend of skill, judgment, feel and attitude that sets only a select few apart from the rest.

The updates Williams hopes will lead to a point-scoring return Prime

The updates Williams hopes will lead to a point-scoring return

After producing a car which demonstrated progress but lacked the points to prove it last year, Williams starts its new era of team ownership with the FW43B, its bid to continue the climb up the Formula 1 grid in 2021

Formula 1
Mar 5, 2021
How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare Prime

How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare

The 2020 Formula 1 season was Ferrari's worst for 40 years as it slumped to sixth in the standings. A repeat performance will not be acceptable for the proud Italian team, which has adopted a notably pragmatic approach to forging its path back to the top

Formula 1
Mar 4, 2021
Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery Prime

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery

In the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 team launch of the season, the rebranded Aston Martin squad’s changes go much further than the striking paint job. But rather than a restart, the team hopes to build on top of solid foundations.

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with Prime

The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with

The team formerly known as Racing Point gambled successfully on a Mercedes look-alike in 2020 as it mounted a strong challenge for third in the constructors' race and won the Sakhir GP. Now clothed in British racing green, Aston Martin's first Formula 1 challenger since 1960 provides the clearest indicator yet of what to expect from the new-for-2021 regulations

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The tricky driver conundrums facing Mercedes in F1 2021 Prime

The tricky driver conundrums facing Mercedes in F1 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success...

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front Prime

How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front

A new name, new faces and new colours pulls the rebranded Alpine Formula 1 team into a new era while carrying over core elements of its 2020 car. But under the surface there's more than meets the eye with the A521 which hints at how the team will tackle 2021...

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown? Prime

Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown?

Replacing Formula 1's fastest car was never going to be an easy feat for Mercedes. Amid the technical rule tweaks to peg back the W12 and its 2021 rivals, the new Mercedes challenger will remain the target to beat

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021