Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

New Mercedes ‘streaks ahead of last year in terms of downforce’

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes technical director James Allison says the team believes its new W11 is a major step forward from last year car in terms of how much downforce it generates.

[f1tv2020testa]In a video published by the team Allison said the new car “streaks ahead of [last year’s] in terms of downforce.”

Allison described how changes have been made elsewhere on the car to generate more downforce.

“At the front we have changed a lot of the structure of the front corners,” he said.

“We have made it much harder for ourselves structurally, much harder to take the forces, but we have rearranged the detail inside the wheels and in the way the suspension goes into those wheels so that we have more aerodynamic opportunity in the front end. It’s a difficult project but one which has given us good aerodynamic gains.”

Mercedes has also introduced an “extremely adventurous” rear suspension design, said Allison. “We have put into the back, specifically on the lower rear wishbone, we have put a new geometry in there, a new geometry that gives us more aerodynamic opportunity, allows us to get more downforce on the car.”

Mercedes W11 rear suspension, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
New rear suspension is “extremely adventurous”
At the middle of the W11 Mercedes the sidepod design follows a trend set by rival teams. “We have moved the side impact structure from its upper position that we have had for the last three seasons to a lower position.” The team “decided to make the structural investment to pull that into our car and to bank the aerodynamic gain that comes with it” after pursuing with a different design since the last major change to the aerodynamic regulations in 2017.

Revisions to the power unit include “not just more horsepower”, said Allison, but more compact packaging which allows for further aerodynamic gains. Mercedes High Performance Powertrains have “put a lot of work in to make it so that this Power Unit can operate at elevated temperatures compared to the previous year” Allison added, referring to a key weakness of last year’s design.

“Being able to run hotter means that for the same everything else, we can make smaller radiators in the car and keep the car cool, one of the reasons why this car is even slimmer than the ones that we have seen in previous seasons” he explained. “Last year’s chassis would have stuck way out the side of this bodywork, but this year’s one, narrower still, as a result of the investments that HPP made on our behalf in their power unit.”

However he did not elaborate on the car’s most eye-catching feature – the Dual Axis Steering which was spotted on Thursday.

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Video: Mercedes explain the W11

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “New Mercedes ‘streaks ahead of last year in terms of downforce’”

  1. “… I can’t do justice in a small piece like this to all the hundreds of things we’ve done …” (1:49 into the video). Saying things like this makes one hope they’ll release a longer version, although even the longer version might not be enough for some people.

  2. ”However he did not elaborate on the car’s most eye-catching feature – the Dual Axis Steering which was spotted on Thursday.”
    – This took place in Silverstone on the shakedown-day before anyone outside the team even knew about DAS yet, though?

  3. DAS loophole, loophole because basically steering the car changes the suspension geometry even though the rules state geometry can’t be changed on track. Das might be a gateway for Merc to do more than just toe, one wonders what is the weight penalty of running such a system.
    The car looked smoother in the direction changes of s3, less responsive than the old car, maybe it doesn’t need to as it is much grippier.

  4. watched the in car of bottas’ pace setting lap. it looked effortless. i think the w11 might be a rocket ship

  5. Maybe while everyone is looking into the gains DAS could possibly bring, the remaining changes will pass unnoticed to some.

    Ok, ok, F1 engineers are not naive… they know each other and some have worked in the same team. But what if you have to choose one trick to spend your few available resources?

    What would you choose to develop? Similar rear suspension? DAS? Tighten you engine package? Or looking into the aero solutions?

  6. Toto may downplay the team’s dominance year after year but James is clearly chuffed with the car and is proud to talk it up. Good to see!

    1. Yup. Embellishing the store windows for potential sponsors and presenting to the shareholders. Look this is where your money will go. Come and join us! Look this is what your money did. Give us more for more stuff like this!

  7. Streaks ahead ? Or streets ahead?

  8. He said that about the previous cars compared to their predecessors too.
    And things like “the solutions we thought were perfect at the time now look dumb” and similar stuff.

    1. Thays always going to be the case. That’s what learning and development is about. Would you have it any other way?

      1. Im just saying theres nothing new there man. Chill.

  9. If this is the case, and Merc are dominant again this year, it may be the first year in 35 years that i will not follow F1 closely if at all. Hats of too Merc for the dominance though.

  10. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    24th February 2020, 10:18

    I don’t have much faith in a tight competition this year.
    I get the impression Mercedes were just staying a step ahead of the pack for the last few years so they could conceivably argue “Ferrari are the fastest car”, when any notion of tightening up the competition arose.
    Now we are on the eve of a new regulation change, there is no reason not to release the hounds and blitz the field, and we could be seeing the full might of a team that never really flexed their muscles since cementing their advantage in 2014.

    1. I’m not normally prone to conspiratorial-type talk, but this seems closer to reality than most other descriptions of this era have been. @fullcoursecaution

  11. I fail to see how they have increased downforce on the front axle, does anyone have an idea? This generation of cars seem to be limited more in creating front axle downforce are they not?

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