Although much of his work has focused on aerodynamic and mechanical improvements to tame the rebounds suffered by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, he didn’t make the mistake of devoting all of his efforts to this problem alone.
Instead, he’s made sure to keep up with as much regular development as possible to ensure he’s properly positioned to capitalize on things when he finally solves his core problem.
That’s why a look at his car’s setup at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix showed a new stay protruding from his rear-view mirror solution, something that looks tiny in the grand scheme of things but speaks to the mindset adopted by Mercedes.
The new stay first appeared under the Side Impact Structure (SIS) fairing which housed the team’s rear view mirror solution this year.
Much like the German automaker’s use of the segmented seat stay layout on the SIS’s upper surface, which proved controversial when rival teams first saw them, the new surface is redundant from a of the medium. Instead, its intent is entirely aerodynamic.
Much like these segmented surfaces used to influence the airflow on the top surface of the SIS, which is also a feature used by AlphaTauri, this new surface falls within the bounding boxes defined in the regulations.
This means that while there may be some debate as to whether or not the stay is really necessary to serve as mirror support, it is entirely legal in the wording of the F1 regulations.
The change is minimal and likely inconsequential from a performance perspective with much of the W13’s pace dependent on the porpoising issue, but the team is clear that they need to continue updating their car as much. as possible at this time.
George Russell, Mercedes W13, returned to the garage
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Asked by Motorsport.com why Mercedes produced something that seems so insignificant in relation to the overall issues facing the team, Ground Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin said: “It’s a very, very small change.
“But when you have a car that’s hard to work with and not fast enough, you don’t want to keep all your bread and butter development work in the tunnel because it’s just wasted time. .
“If you stop for a month, you will be the equivalent of this delay, in terms of development, by the end of the year.
“So one of the challenges that we’re facing now, which is really new for us over the past few years, is that you’re trying to address major issues, fundamental issues with the rebound or the handling of the car, at the same time than making sure you can keep putting in performance.”
Shovlin admits that even small car updates could end up playing a big part in the aerodynamic influence of his porpoising, but it’s always better to keep developing.
“We try to avoid doing things that might cloud the picture,” he added.
“But then we also look at the pieces and we think well, we can just put that on and we know the effect will be a very small step in the right direction.
“Those kinds of things are insignificant, but typical of the kinds of things we need to keep doing to make sure we don’t stand still.”
Ferrari F1-75 mirror
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
Mercedes weren’t the only team tweaking their mirror design in Baku, with Ferrari also introducing changes for a small aerodynamic gain, following in the footsteps of many others on the grid who have a similar solution.
Rather than having a curvy attachment point on the side of the cockpit transition (inset), there is now a vertical surface above the cockpit transition that the horizontal part of the mirror mount intersects with .
However, it does this in a way that creates a fin to help guide airflow.