How Mercedes Engineering Is Helping Them Stay Ahead In F1
Mercedes is doing very well this season in F1. Between its two drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, the team has won every Grand Prix so far. It looks like Ferrari’s hopes are fading fast, while Mercedes continue its dominance.
It’s no secret that great engineering is one of the key components of a winning F1 team. In fact, auto sports like the F1 could arguably be said to be competitions of design, with the racing used to demonstrate the edge that the engineering gives. Regardless of where this balance truly lies, Mercedes has made spectacular adjustments and upgrades to overcome competition this season.
The Drawbacks of Long Wheelbase Design
Mercedes have favored the long wheelbase design for a long time. This means that the distance between the front and rear chassis is relatively long. The advantages of this design are that it offers better aerodynamics and more stability at high speeds. The disadvantage is that it can make turning more difficult and less sharp.
Short wheelbase cars are often able to turn faster, yet lose out on aerodynamics. It’s always a trade-off. Or is it?
Mercedes has actually managed to overcome the drawbacks of the long wheelbase design with clever engineering and adjustments to suspension. All credit to Lewis Hamilton for his unstoppable performances, as well as to all other drivers on the circuit who push the limits to win the race, but engineering clearly counts for a lot and can impact the odds in websites such as FOXBet.
Engineering Out the Flaws
Mercedes very cleverly ironed out the flaws of the long wheelbase design by adapting the rear suspension so that it effectively mimics rear-wheel steering. By tweaking the suspension geometry and brake-by-wire software, Mercedes managed to enhance the rotation of its cars. The adaption offers instant yaw change.
This gives a particular advantage when it comes to slow corners. The tweak was apparently difficult to set up, and was less apparent early on in 2019, but you can clearly see it at work in the final turn at Austin. It looks like the Mercedes W10 is about to take a rear slide, yet it straightens up at the point of the apex, allowing for power out of the corner.
This gives the W10 a slow corner reaction time akin to a much smaller vehicle, yet with the aerodynamic boost and high-speed performance of the long wheelbase design. When working well, this system literally steals seconds on every lap.
Also new to Mercedes is the front suspension linkage system, which levers the front nose of the car down beyond a certain threshold of steering lock. This functions like a traditional suspension system until the threshold is reached, and after this moment the pivoted brackets pull down the entire front of the car.
This is a system that Ferrari and others have already been using for a while now, but it should prove particularly useful for Mercedes and should counteract the inherent understeer of their long wheelbase designs. Both systems combined overcome the drawbacks, and Mercedes is now noticeably better through and out of slow and short corners.
Phase 2 Power Unit Confirmed
Mercedes vehicles are well-known for their speed and power (take the GLE 580 with its V8 hybrid engine, for example). To add to its competitors’ growing concerns, Mercedes has now confirmed that it will introduce its upgraded F1 Phase 2 Power Unit engine for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Up until this point, Mercedes has been the only team that has stuck with the same power unit since the start of the season. Ferrari, Renault and Honda have all upgraded for performance or reliability.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has pointed out that the team has been losing time on the straights in the last six races, and indeed Mercedes is still behind Ferrari when it comes to straight-line speed. The upgrade could be yet another component of brilliant engineering that continues to give the manufacturer and its drivers an edge.
It’s looking like Lewis Hamilton will win the Grand Prix Championships this year, but let it be said that his victory is not without a team of first-class engineers who make the W10 one of the most aerodynamic, powerful and nimble F1 cars on the planet.