Mercedes has unveiled a number of new updates for its home Formula 1 race at Hockenheim, including a new turning vane assembly, front wing and bodywork
With the bargeboards and turning vanes next to the sidepods increasing in complexity over the course of the season, Mercedes has worked its way through numerous aerodynamic packages in this area so far this season. For the German Grand Prix this development has continued, and Mercedes has seemingly come up with a completely different design compared to the previous turning vane assemblies.
Throughout the season, the team has run with four distinct turning vanes, all interlinked and ending at the final turning vane which loops around the top of the sidepod. Mercedes has now switched to something more unconventional, featuring a trio of horizontal slats which resemble a Venetian blind (left green arrow) – not dissimilar to the current design run by the Haas team.
This pairs up with a new mounting arrangement for the final turning vane, shifting the bottom mounting further upwards and curling the top mounting to attach to the underside of the horizontal section.
It is unknown why Mercedes has made the switch, but it could be out of the desire to send more airflow around the sidepod undercut towards the rear. The previous specification of turning vane had worked in a similar manner, as the turning vanes featured horizontal extensions sweeping rearward with a curved shape.
It seems that the effect of these has been noted and expanded upon, and the first element – which remains similar to the previous arrangement – collects any wake turbulence from the wheel and hands it over to the new horizontal pieces. The design also seems to be a solution to link up more strongly with the bargeboard package, which sends airflow outwards to protect the floor from turbulence.
Furthermore, the movement of the mounting point – marked with a purple arrow (above) – gives the car greater opportunity to manage airflow over the top of the sidepods, allowing it to wash down over the indent.
New front wing
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 front wing detail
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
This features a shorter overall chord length, shortening the top two elements to bring the trailing edge further forward along the endplate. The position of the trailing edge was a controversial one earlier in the season, protruding from the current specification of endplates and posing a puncture risk.
Although this was changed at the behest of the FIA, Mercedes made a minor tweak to the Chinese GP-introduced design for the following rounds to ensure it could fit within the bounds of the endplate.
The footplate now also features a small flick, suggesting a more concerted effort from the aerodynamicists to deflect airflow outwards.
At the rear of the car, the bodywork has been marginally opened out to assist with cooling – giving Mercedes the platform to avoid the problems with heat it suffered in Austria.
There are also new rear wing endplates, featuring a stepped trailing-edge corner cutout and a number of new fins – marked by the yellow arrow (below).
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 technical detail
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
Rear wings produce tip vortices, which can often be seen in humid conditions as the water vapour in the air condenses, and the new design direction will be a new adaptation to control those vortices.
In doing so, the pressure generated at the rear of the car can be redistributed, developing greater suction underneath the wing elements and improving downforce incrementally.