Reviews split sub-floor on the W12! Is Mercedes ahead of everyone again?

19:10  12 march  2021
19:10  12 march  2021 Source:   de.motorsport.com

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Mercedes comes up with an underbody at the Formula 1 test drives in Bahrain that should make the competition tremble

For a short time it seemed as if Aston Martin Sebastian Vettel would actually provide an underbody secret weapon . But everything changed in one fell swoop when Valtteri Bottas drove out of the pits for the first time in his Mercedes W12.

pictures: Formula 1 test drives in Bahrain 2021

The transmission problems on Friday morning may have thrown Mercedes back, but the underbody is once again at least one step ahead of all other teams. Experts and technicians were amazed at how elaborate the Brackley solution is.

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With no fewer than five waves, the underbody of the Mercedes has even more than that of Aston Martin. First of all, the waves ensure that more space is available, which the regulations have taken from the teams in the rear area of ​​the underbody through the diagonal cutout.

They also direct air upwards, which is then caught in the area of ​​the bottle neck (region of the red arrow). The air is prepared here for the diffuser, which is shaped differently than in the past.

The upward-pointing belly of the diffuser curves significantly more towards the center of the vehicle than on the outside. This can be clearly seen in the picture below the wheel suspension. This effect is reinforced by the bulge on the side box (red arrow). Mercedes has clearly prioritized the region of the bottleneck.

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Breathtaking rear area on the underbody

Back to the underbody: In addition to the five waves, Mercedes has also split it into several sections. No other team brought such a far-reaching solution to Sachir.

Splitting the sub-floor into several sections makes sense. A large single piece always ensures that the air does not work as desired in some places. With the division into several areas, each sub-area works exactly as it should work.

Lewis Hamilton © Provided by motorsport.com Lewis Hamilton

On the first day of the test, Mercedes had reliability problems

Photo: Motorsport Images

Mercedes paid special attention to the area in front of the rear tire. Here, too, the "black silver arrow" comes up with a solution that Mercedes has so far had exclusively for itself. First of all, the end of the sub-floor is bent upwards. But it also has wings that cannot be seen in this form on any other car.

It is a series of vertical struts that are connected to one another by a "roof". Each of these standing Finns plays with air in their own way. Because the underbody rises towards the rear tire, air is also "collected" by these fins as if it were flat.

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What is difficult to see in this picture due to the lack of contrast: The underside of the underbody bends down abruptly in front of the rear tire (blue arrow). Usually you rarely see such shapes on a racing car because they produce buoyancy at first glance.

The Gurney-like tear-off ensures that the air does not "bounce" against the rotating tire, but is deflected downwards, where it fits better into the tire rotation.

In the picture above, further fins standing in the direction of travel can be seen on the top of the rear underbody. The inner three prepare the airflow that "missed" the vehicle's bottleneck for the top of the diffuser. The outer ones try to direct air in the direction of the brake ventilation, where more wing salad is waiting (which, however, was cut for the Formula 1 season in 2021).

Should Mercedes get its reliability problems under control, it can be assumed that they are the measure of all things again. Especially since Red Bull has so far not presented its own spectacular solutions that would be on a par with the Mercedes plant.

With images from Giorgio Piola .

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