Mercedes W10 Launch Analysis

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Mercedes unveiled their car on the track of Silverstone a hour before noon. The reigning champions are the first to show a 2019 car in real life, with a shakedown planned under the guise of a filming day. F1technical did a first analysis/impression of the car

Though seemingly a detail, an interesting difference from other displayed cars are the endplates on the new Mercedes, or at least in its launch guise. Contrary to other designs, the W10 features an inwash endplate.

What the design team has been aiming at here is not entirely clear. The simplest explanation is to push more airflow inward, rather than round the outside of the front wheels. Another possible explanation could be that it is actually a more beneficial form factor to decrease wheel turbulence through a different interaction of airflow on the inside and outside of the endplate. The wing elements do lean more towards outwash, so it's possible there is this interaction we don't know about.

The rest of the front wing looks as you can expect: the wing profiles are sculpted in detail to the limitation of the regulations, with slot gap separators and a small infra-red camera cascade. The footplate does not show a flat section on the inside of the endplate, perhaps signifying a trend to not use this area. The arched section of the footplate does have a slightly more intricate design at its rear.

The nose cone, and matching "aero cape” appear similar, if not identical, to last year. This shouldn't be surprising as teams can just develop this area further relatively unhindered.

The front suspension's geometry is similar to what we saw on the 2018 Mercedes. Whereas Toro Rosso returned to a conventional suspension arm with the wishbone no longer attached to the wheel with a spacer, Mercedes has retained the mounting to be able to have the upper wishbone as high up as possible. The team also retained the small vane on top of the wishbone near the wheel.

The brake duct is quite a bit larger, but the inside of it shows several side channels. As the new 2019 technical regulations leave much less room to fit aerodynamic appendages in the brake duct area, its likely that optimizations inside the duct will not be a major point of focus.

Moving to the sidepod area, Mercedes stuck to their philosophy of having a more or less triangular aperture, contrary to what Ferrari did on their Ferrari SF71H, by pulling the sidepod inlets back, exposing the crash structures completely and using those as winglets.
Mercedes did not do this, although sidepod volume definitely has shrunk significantly compared to last year, partially exposing the upper side crash structure. The flow conditioners around the sidepod have been reshaped significantly as well. Attached to said flow conditioners are the support pillars for the rear view mirrors, trying to use the mirrors to get some flow conditioning already done before flow hits the sidepod area.

In the coke bottle area the better packaging becomes apparent by the increased exposure of the floor compared to last year. The floor itself is riddled with slots, vanes and overall sculpting. With more turbulent airflow to hit the floor in 2019, the longitudinal outside stroke of the floor will be an important development area as teams will be trying to manage the changed airflow structures coming off the smaller barge boards.

The rear suspension also looks partially taken over from last year, but does show more refinement, merging the upper suspension arms further in one shroud. This helps to condition and straighten the flow going underneath the rear wing and over the top of the diffuser.

The T-wing also saw refinements, with Mercedes now using a dual pillar support along with an attachment onto the shark fin. This is likely an optimisation in combination with the rear wing's double swan neck support.

The rear wing shown reverts back to a traditional box-like set up, instead of a spoon shaped one, although this could be changed for particular races.

The endplates are far from the blank simple ones shown on the previous launch cars, with heavily developed front edge slots (below the aerofoils), and outer hanging vanes on the rear. The surface behind the aerofoils are also heavily sculpted.

All in all, Mercedes showed a car that already seems very refined, though only on-track performance will tell how good it is. And whether the team will be able to continue its domination of F1 that started back in 2014.