Technical analysis: Mercedes introduced a heavily upgraded car

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Germany, Hockenheimringde

Despite dominating the sport for the sixth consecutive year, Mercedes continues to invest heavily in the development programme of its 2019 racing car. As the latest sign of this ceaseless development, the Anglo-German team brought a heavily upgraded package to its home race weekend at Hockenheim.

Next to the introduction of a one-off commemorative design run to honour the team’s 125 years of motorsport, Mercedes shocked its rivals once again with enormous changes to its W10 on the opening day of the German Grand Prix weekend.

For reliability reason, the team made changes to the cooling to avoid any overheating issues it hampered its performance in Austria a couple of weeks ago. To have complete control over the cooling of the W10, the team implemented a raft of changes including opening up marginally the rear bodywork.

To enhance the performance of its 2019 challenger, the Brackley-based team reworked its rear wing. The new version has an overhauled endplate featuring stepped cutouts at the back of its top trailing edge. It also incorporates six new fins which should control the vortices induced by the rear wing.

The team also reshaped multiple parts of its front wing design. The latest version incorporates a footplate featuring a small flick which should help deflect airflow outwards. The top two elements of the wing have been made shorter in a bid to make the front end of the car even sharper.

Not only in terms of performance, Mercedes has been the leading force regarding its turning vanes and bargeboards design. For its home race, the team came up with an even more complex assembly. The completely reshaped design features three horizontal slim slats and an overhauled mounting arrangement to fine-tune to way even more how the aerodynamics of the W10 control the turbulence air and the airflows heading to the back of the car.

Racing point seeks for balance

Racing Point has also been busy with preparing an upgrade package for the last races before the summer break. In fact, the Silverstone-based outfit planned a two-step development, starting it with the introduction of changes to the bodywork at Hockenheim before implementing further changes at Budapest in just over a week’s time.

Today the team was trying out a completely overhauled bodywork. The more conventional undercut sidepods were ditched to give place to a completely new in vogue bodywork. Taking inspiration from Red Bull, the new bodywork features a lower section which draws outwards towards the edge of the floor and an upper part which is tightened up. Because of the new dimensions, the internal cooling systems had to go through changes to accommodate the latest development.

Next to this significant change, the upgrade package included further changes to the air intake at the top of the engine cover, the floor and the mirrors.

Sergio Perez disclosed that the team hopes to find remedy to its aerodynamic problems with the changes. According the the Mexican driver, the rear of the RP19 has been lacking downforce since the beginning of the season, making it rather nervous at most of the tracks. “We're trying to bring balance to the car, to try to cure some of the deficits in terms of balance. We hope that this first step can bring us a bit of that - rear end mainly,” he said.

Experimenting at Williams

Williams is also aiming to turn their fortunes around for the second half of the year after a troublesome start to the 2019 season. After failing to kick off its pre-season testing in time, the Grove-based outfit has been crawling at the back of the field all year long so far, not even finding the connection to the mid-field rival outfits.

However, after making changes to its technical team including the departure of its former technical chief Paddy Lowe, the British squad intends to make inroads with its car for the remainder of the season. At Silverstone, the FW42 was fitted with new turning vanes to change the way how the airflow from the front of the car washes down the sidepods.

At Hockenheim, the team continued its push for further gains, introducing new aerodynamic elements. A new floor has been tried out today, featuring longitudinal slots instead of the diagonal cuts. A McLaren-style boomerang element was added to both sides of the monocoque to have an even greater control over the airflows coming off of the front wheels. The bargeboards have been also reshaped for the German Grand Prix with adding a number of serrations to its top edge.