What’s behind Mercedes’ straight-line performance gains in F1? – .

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What’s behind Mercedes’ straight-line performance gains in F1? – .


After showing excellent straight-line speed in the final rounds, especially in the Turkish Grand Prix, Mercedes came under fire from Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who suggested the team were “clearly optimizing a device in a straight line ”for F1 Sky.
These claims were refuted by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who said the team’s performance on the straights was the culmination of “all the little gains, the marginal gains that have been added that bring the performance “.

However, video footage of the Mercedes W12 shows marginal rear crouch in high-speed areas of the track, with the ride height increasing as the car brakes in a corner.

Mercedes already uses a low-lean package, which means the rear is significantly lower compared to the front than cars like the Red Bull, which run at a very high lean.

While a higher rake is an advantage in turns, in which the airflow under the floor can be accelerated and the effective diffuser space opened to reduce pressure under the car, it is an obstacle in straight lines.

This is due to the greater drag it produces, as the air is worked harder by the ground – and the frontal area of ​​the car increases as the rear of the body rises.

If a team can reduce rear ride height, then they can reduce drag and thus unlock greater straight-line speed.

It looks like Mercedes have found a setup that allows the rear to drop down as the car accelerates, thus producing that reduced drag effect which means the car’s top speed is greater.

While it is currently not known how the car produces this effect, one method of operating a passive system is to install a spring adjuster that allows the rear of the car to compress when pressed down. back increases, then releases as pressure decreases.

Using a softer spring will also help cope with elevation changes encountered on the Istanbul Park circuit and therefore prove useful in providing consistent grip on the bumpy surface of the Circuit of the Americas.

It can also produce a stall in the diffuser, which crews often try to use at a certain speed to improve acceleration, due to the lower position.

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One difficulty to consider is that when the car returns to its natural position in the braking zones, the airflow must tie up enough for the diffuser to operate to produce the downforce necessary for cornering.

It looks like the W12 will gradually return to its usual rake once the driver releases the throttle, ensuring that the airflow has ample opportunity to assume the desired position.

Mercedes appear incredibly confident in their setup changes and, given the pressure the team has placed on their need to introduce new engines in previous laps, it looks like the straight line is in line with the team’s claims according to which it found a “good spot” with its suspension setup rather than finding additional powertrain performance.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

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