Mercedes W15 front wing, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Pictures: New views of Mercedes W15 running in Bahrain test

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Mercedes’ much-changed W15 has hit the track during pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The car was launched one week ago today at Silverstone, where Mercedes also conducted a brief shakedown run.

The team stated early last year it had decided on a complete change of design direction for 2024. The ‘zero’ sidepods which appeared on the previous two cars it launched were replaced within a few races last year. But the changes to its car design for this year go much further.

Besides the switch to a more conventional sidepod design, the W15 also sports a particularly novel front wing. The rules require these to feature four distinct elements, but Mercedes have made the uppermost of these as narrow as possible, enlarging the lower planes as far as possible. The bottom plane does not join the front wing, as seen on several rivals’ cars.

The team has also made a significant change at the rear of the car, swapping its pull-rod suspension for a push-rod configuration. While this means more of the suspension components have to be situated higher in the chassis, which makes it harder to keep the car’s centre of gravity low, it creates more space for the aerodynamicists to exploit the powerful floor tunnel.

Mercedes suffered from a lack of rear end grip last year, so this change promises to address a key weakness of the W14.

The team’s latest car is the last which seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton will drive before he joins Ferrari next year. He was in the garage today following George Russell’s progress and is due to take over driving duties tomorrow.

Pictures: 2024 Mercedes W15 on track

This article will be updated

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Formula 1

Browse all Formula 1 articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

4 comments on “Pictures: New views of Mercedes W15 running in Bahrain test”

  1. Coventry Climax
    21st February 2024, 10:08

    That’s an interesting picture indeed, as you can clearly count 5 planes.
    Love how they find loopholes in the beautiful rules wording again: distinctive elements.
    That’s being about as precise as measuring the distance to the moon by the length of your foot.
    Oh wait, that’s exactly what they did until about 1875, at the second industrial revolution.
    Very befitting an environment claiming to be at the technical forefront.

    The fun of it is, that with the FiA still wording rules like this, it’ll take ages for them to get things the way they want.
    The downside is, they themselves think that it takes too long, so they’ll say the teams didn’t understand and/or misinterpreted their rules, and will go meddling mid season again with technical directives.

    1. Well I can only count 4. So either you misunderstand what a “plane” is or you are mistaking reflections on the top surface of the wings for gaps.

      1. Coventry Climax
        21st February 2024, 15:10

        The second one from the bottom splits in two, going from outside (left) to inside (right).
        As an automotive and aeronautical engineer, although not native english speaking, I’m quite aware what a ‘plane’ is.
        Whether it still counts as a ‘distinctive element’ is another matter.

        The first doubts are already raised about it, it seems.

        1. Coventry Climax
          21st February 2024, 15:56

          Maybe you’re right and it is reflection on that second plane. (counted from the bottom.)
          Seen some other pictures too now. Assuming that’s the same wing; it is testing after all.

          Anyway, as it turns out, the gist of my comment seems to be not that far off.

Comments are closed.