Mercedes reveals radical scoop as part of major upgrade
Mercedes has revealed a major aerodynamic revamp of its W08 for the Spanish Grand Prix which includes a radical scoop vane on the nose of its Formula 1 car.
While the Brackley-based team has focused a lot of energy trying to get on top of its tyre degradation issues, that has not stopped it pushing hard to bring extra aero performance to the car too.
In the Barcelona pitlane on Thursday, the Mercedes was spotted with a raft of changes that it hopes will be enough to lift its challenge against Ferrari.
The most striking aspect of the changes is the under-nose turning vane, which has helped create a type of skirt underneath the car.
The aim of this will be to more accurately control the airflow vortices coming off the front wing between the neutral central section and the external parts.
But beyond the attention-grabbing spoon vane, Mercedes has also introduced new bargeboards with three R-shaped upstands, a revised winglet mounted to the wishbone extension, new camera mounts, a revised floor ahead of the rear tyre, a revised rear wing, and a new two-tier monkey seat.
For the Spanish Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton will also get use of a fresh and updated engine, which has had tweaks for reliability reasons.
The other area of focus for Mercedes has been in trying to address its weight issues, with the team's bid to get on top of the sensitivity of tyres and car balance having been compromised by it being unable to use ballast.
While the car's weight has come down steadily since the start of the season, the team is open that more work is needed.
Bottas said on Thursday: "We are getting better as a team in all areas of the car, mechanically, aerodynamically, also with the weight – we are getting better and better.
"We still have work to do in all of these areas, including the weight, but it is definitely getting there, and we are extracting more and more performance but hopefully there is plenty more to unlock."
While the Mercedes updates appear more radical than what Ferrari has shown so far, Bottas is well aware that the issue of tyres could still be decisive in the battle for race victories.
"It is a tight battle with Ferrari, it is all about the details," he said. "Every single bit counts, and definitely we are trying to develop the car as quickly as we can, with all the new bits.
"But there is also a lot of performance every weekend. At the moment we need to perform with every compound of tyre in the optimum window, and that is something that Ferrari has been doing better since the beginning of the year.
"They have been more consistent in the operating window with all the compounds, especially on Sundays. So a lot of work going into that, but also bringing new bits into the car and bringing everything together.
"I think we are still quite a lot more to unlock with this package. I still think we have a strong car and a lot of potential, and lots of room for improvements in all the areas."
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