Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

2019 tech verdict: Mercedes proves its class once again

Join us as we delve into Giorgio Piola’s 2019 archive and bring you insight into the relentless development undertaken by the teams throughout a season in the pursuit of more performance. In today’s gallery we will focus on… Mercedes.

2019 tech verdict: Mercedes proves its class once again

Six years of F1’s hybrid-turbo era and a dozen titles – drivers’ and constructors’ each time – safely stowed in the trophy cabinet. Mercedes’ race form in 2019 was as strong as expected, yet its pre-season didn’t quite kick off as intended – with an aerodynamic revamp required to overcome winter world champions Ferrari.

It rocketed out of the blocks when it mattered, however, winning the opening eight grands prix. Fifteen victories in total, despite the least number of poles per season (10) in those six years, proved its status as the class of the field. And here is how it developed the W10 to be that once again.

Click on the arrows on the images below to scroll through them…

Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 front wing detail
Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 front wing detail
1/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes introduced its 2019 challenger with a front wing that differed from everything else on offer. Rather than have the endplate turn outward in an attempt to draw airflow around the front tyre, the endplate actually curved inward.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front suspension
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front suspension
2/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team ploughed on with its aggressive stance to their upright design for 2019, using a pushrod on upright solution that saw the articulating joint placed quite a distance inboard and hidden behind a nodule (upper arrow). Meanwhile, the regulations designed to hinder the placement of winglets on the brake duct fence fell on deaf ears at Mercedes, as while their size was reduced considerably, they were still there, trying to manipulate the flow of air as it passed by.
Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 front wing detail
Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 front wing detail
3/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes introduced a more conventional endplate design during pre-season testing, with the endplate set to push airflow out and around the front tyre. As a result of these changes the designers also saw fit to adjust the mainplane and footplate design too.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 side exit comparison
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 side exit comparison
4/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Cooling has become a critical factor for the teams over the last few years, as they try to negate any aerodynamic inefficiencies, while also keeping an eye temperatures for the power unit. Mercedes used its maximum cooling option in Melbourne, complete with a large louvred panel and an exit from the halo transition, while in Bahrain it only saw fit to use the former.
Mercedes W10 front wing endplate comparison
Mercedes W10 front wing endplate comparison
5/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Striving for extra performance, the team hoped to introduce a new front wing endplate design in China, casting aside the notched upper rear quarter design for a more sinuous trailing edge. However, it fell foul of the wording in the new regulations and was forced to make ad hoc changes in order that it complied with the regulations.
Mercedes W10 front wing flap
Mercedes W10 front wing flap
6/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The ensuing alterations to Mercedes’ front wing required the team to not only make adjustments to the endplate but also resulted in the team having to cut down the outer corner of the upper flap so it wasn’t exposed when viewed from the side.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 serrated rear wing
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 serrated rear wing
7/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Not for the first time, Mercedes looked to a serrated flap solution on the rear wing in Azerbaijan. Having used such a design on both front and rear wings in recent years, it was perfectly placed to try and get the best from the design once more, trading downforce against drag.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 bracket technical detail
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 bracket technical detail
8/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Here we can see the aforementioned articulating joint where the W10’s front pushrod meets with its displaced upright extension.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 rear wing detail
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 rear wing detail
9/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes arrived in Germany with a package of new parts, the biggest of which was a new rear wing which featured some interesting new design features, including upwash strakes and serrations in the upper rear corner of the endplate.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front wing detail
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front wing detail
10/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

At the front end of the car, the team added a small Gurney-style tab on the trailing edge of the footplate
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front suspension detail
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front suspension detail
11/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

When it comes to suspension, Mercedes has long held superiority over its closest rivals. But with changes coming in 2021 that will require teams to totally rethink their designs, the Silver Arrows has started to lessen its tight grip on the use of hydraulics, returning instead to some more conventional springing methods. As seen here the team have more recently toyed with a mechanically-assisted heave damper, complete with belleville spring washers.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 old bargeboard
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 old bargeboard
12/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The midriffs of Formula 1 cars have become a complicated affair since the introduction of new rules in 2017 that made the cars a handful of seconds per lap quicker. These rules opened new avenues for the designers to express themselves and many have taken artistic license with them, introducing a slew of ever-more complex bargeboards, floors and sidepod furniture with which to drive performance.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, bargeboard
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, bargeboard
13/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

As part of an update introduced at the Japanese GP, Mercedes looked to dial in the performance that can be garnered from the deflector array and sidepod furniture, with numerous changes to the bodywork focused on improving flow management around the sidepod.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front brake
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front brake
14/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

To further enhance the aerodynamic output of the front brake assembly, the team added a row of vortex generators within the brake drums crossover well at the Japanese GP. These alter the flow of air as it passes from the inlet, across the face of the brake assembly and out through the wheel rim.
Mercedes AMG W10, rear cooling detail
Mercedes AMG W10, rear cooling detail
15/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The Mexican GP poses significant challenges for the drivers and engineers alike, given the temperatures and altitude. Mercedes made changes to the rear cooling outlet to accommodate these challenges, as the altitude serves to reduce the amount of drag that’s generated.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, rear duct
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, rear duct
16/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

It is the responsibility of the engineers to find small nuggets of performance within the regulations that their counterparts have not, with Mercedes rear brake and suspension assembly providing one such circumstance.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 rear brakes drum detail
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 rear brakes drum detail
17/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The triangulation in the upright cavity allows airflow to flow through the assembly and is fed into the gap between the brake drum and the wheel rim, assisting in the management of tyre temperatures.
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front wing
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front wing
18/18

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes arrived at the last race of the season with one last part to check-off its test programme list – a prototype front wing. The design, which bears the hallmarks of a ‘unloaded’ wing run by the likes of Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Toro Rosso in 2019, is at the other end of the spectrum compared with what the Silver Arrows has used. Mercedes wanted to get a read on this while it still had some real world test time available, and this could impact its 2020 challenger, even if most of its design has been locked down for some time.

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