B arcelona, February 21 at 8.24 am. Crime scene pit lane. The new Mercedes W03 will be unveiled in the pit lane of the Circuit de Catalunya. At this point, the new Silver Arrow is no longer a new car. He has already been on the race track for three days.
Last Thursday there was the so-called shakedown in Silverstone. On Sunday a full day of testing in Barcelona with the first 300 kilometers on racing tires. It was extra because Mercedes had skipped one of the four days in Jerez. The Mercedes troop started their film day on Monday.
On Tuesday, the Mercedes will meet the competition for the first time. Michael Schumacher starts the second week of testing in Barcelona. Then you take turns in the cockpit: Rosberg on Wednesday and Friday, Schumacher on Thursday.
When the two drivers pulled the sheet off the new Mercedes W03, a car came to light that was being opened recognizes the first glance. The most striking feature is the long, thin nose. It is reminiscent of a stork. But what is really behind the new Silver Arrow, which is supposed to bring the team its first GP victory? We have dissected the Mercedes W03 from the tip of the nose to the rear wing.
The fear of the competition that Mercedes had only waited long enough to hide a technical super coup with the presentation of the new car did not come true for the time being. But the silver car shows a whole range of interesting detailed solutions that cannot be seen in the other cars. Sports director Norbert Haug puts it carefully: 'We have incorporated some considerations into the car that you don't see at first glance.' But on the second.
Mercedes W03 longer than its predecessor
First of all, it is noticeable that the new Mercedes W03 is a longer car than the old one. The wheelbase has been stretched significantly. How much must photos show in comparable places. If you can't wait for the answer, you can measure yourself. Put two photos from 2011 and 2012 in the same format and use the wheels as a guide. They must have a diameter of 660 millimeters. You can use this to derive all other dimensions, but don't forget the distortion factor.
A longer wheelbase allows more space between the front wheels and side pods. This helps calm the air blown up by the front of the vehicle. 'Length runs' is called awell-known saying of the engineers. The car's driving behavior automatically becomes more predictable.
Because there is more space to distribute heavy components on the floor, the center of gravity will also decrease in 2012. Another advantage over the previous year. It can also be seen that the drivers are sitting deeper in the cockpit. The carbon tube drops continuously from its highest point on the front axle towards the chassis.
Round and pointed stork nose
Let's start with the nose of the Mercedes W03. It is pointed and extremely thin and also has a nostril as air supply for an F-slot in the front wing. Norbert Haug reveals: 'We passed all crash tests straight away.' In view of the stork's nose, one has to compliment the carbon experts at Brackley. There were masters of lamination at work. The front wing hangs on wide stilts like a Ferrari. It differs significantly from the models shown in 2011.
As with Red Bull, the wing has two troughs below the wing when viewed from the front to better direct the flow. One inside at the transition to the standardized middle wing part, one outside. The gap in the main sheet to accelerate the air is more than twice as wide as before and extends to the end plates.
When the F-slot is inserted, the air blows off on the back of the main sheet, which leads to the calming of the flow below the wing elements. According to experts, the system could also bring a top speed advantage of up to eight km /h. The flaps are now stabilized by a bar extending diagonally from the main leaf. On the outside of the wing there is an extra wing with two elements and, recently, a hook-shaped winglet on the inside.
Extreme step in the Mercedes front
The pointed nose on the Mercedes W03 is therefore particularly noticeable Eye, because the step in the chassis is larger than in the other cars. You can see with the naked eye that the top of the carbon tube rises more than 7.5 centimeters. Since one must assume that Mercedes uses the maximum chassis height of 625 millimeters on the front axle, this can only mean that the nose has been lowered further than the maximum dimension of 550 millimeters would allow.
This does not affect the flow under the nose, as the carbon tube in this area is so thin that enough air can still flow through below. The veritable hump on the top certainly has a deeper meaning. Perhaps the Mercedes aerodynamicists want to use it to direct the flow over the cockpit. The Red Bull assumes that the slot in the step is supposed to pursue the same goal.
Only minor changes can be observed on the front wheel suspension. The Pushrod seems to be a little steeper. The handlebar again runs separately under the front upper wishbone. For that isthe Pullrod rear axle is swept more forward. Since half of the carbon handlebars are reinforced with an apparently heat-resistant material, they play a role in the exhaust. But more on that later.
Mercedes cools 2012 like Red Bull
The side pods are a little flatter at the front than last year and they slope more gently towards the back. The additional length has a positive effect here. In the side view of the first test images, no gills or other air outlets can be seen. One can therefore assume that Mercedes has renounced the concept of the folded radiator. They were space-saving, but it took half a season to solve the cooling problems.
The hot exhaust air from the radiator now escapes through a cannon barrel at the end of the elongated bonnet, following the Red Bull model. On the airbox there is another slot behind the opening for the motor, which is used for cooling. It is now standard that the transmission oil cooler is placed in the rear. Overall, the entire engine cover on the Mercedes W03 looks tidier and less rugged than in 2011. This also improves the flow to the rear wing elements.
The exhaust is in the sloping part of the side pods, which is black around the tailpipes is painted. A channel embedded in the cladding branches downwards, similar to the Sauber C31. The proximity of the upper wishbones of the rear axle suggests that they are being misused to divert the exhaust gases. But where is the exhaust jet directed to the Mercedes W03?
Mercedes W03 with additional wings on the diffuser
Now comes the most interesting part of the new Mercedes. Two stair-shaped wing elements with their own end plates are mounted on the left and right of the diffuser roof. These are definitely additional output donors. The exhaust gases can increase the contact pressure there. Norbert Haug promises: 'We will see a lot of development in this area.'
Mercedes has also slimmed down its new W03 considerably. Which is not so easy, because a longer chassis initially adds weight. But the diet was absolutely necessary because one of the major weaknesses of the previous year's car was the high tire wear on the rear axle. That also had to do with the fact that there was not enough ballast available to relieve the rear tires. That will be different in 2012.
According to Haug, the two-week delay will soon be made up for. 'We checked out many of the new components, from the drivetrain to KERS, transmission and aerodynamics in advance on our test benches and in the wind tunnel. That is why we did not go into our first test unprepared. This time we are starting with a finished racing car We started with a test car that still had a lot to sort out. We hope that we will start our development work right away from todaycan. '