SportF1The clues about the recovery plan of Mercedes in...

The clues about the recovery plan of Mercedes in F1

This light was not an idea by Mercedes to make the W13 look prettier, rather the light was actually an active sensor, as well as the result of Mercedes’ ongoing effort to be able to get to the bottom of their issues with the porpoising of Once for all.

Mercedes believes that if it can understand what it takes to prevent its 2022 car from bouncing down the straights, it could help it get out on track with a better set-up, which, in the end, would become an automatic step forward in performance terms.

The difficulty lies in the fact that, until now, Mercedes has not been able to get to the bottom of the elements that trigger porpoising , nor do they know what exactly are the factors that cause the appearance of the phenomenon.

Mercedes director Toto Wolff admitted that there were some “hidden gremlins” in the car that had to be found, hinting at the famous film. He claimed that things were confusing because whatever configuration changes were made over the weekend in Melbourne, they seemed to have little impact on the problem.

Porpoising seems to be less prevalent in racing and in an attempt to understand why this is the case, Mercedes decided to use an optical ride height sensor over the Australian weekend on Hamilton ‘s car.

The sensor, which emits a light when switched on, measures the height of the bodywork as well as the car’s trajectory relative to the track, so it can be used to get answers about what exactly is going on in the car. the straights and in the curves.

These types of devices are quite common in F1, but are normally only fitted in free practice sessions as they add extra weight to the car, believed to be between 1-2kg.

However, Mercedes thought that the benefits of keeping him in the car for qualifying and the race, for the extra insight gained, would outweigh any drawbacks of having some extra ballast.

Lewis Hamilton spoke about the use of this sensor for Sky : “I have something in my car that makes it a bit heavier, but it’s not a huge detriment. Hopefully it will allow the team to get more information in the race.”

But the light sensor on the underside of the car wasn’t the only data-gathering exercise Mercedes undertook, as during some of the free practice runs it added another optical ride-height sensor housed in pods located at the edge of the ground.

Mercedes W13 side detail

The search for answers to porpoising means that Mercedes has put enhancements on the backburner, as it doesn’t want the confusion that comes from changing the setup of its car.

For this reason, the team has not yet introduced a low-downforce rear wing and continues to use a modified version of the high-downforce wing that it started the season with.

With porpoising issues still a priority, the team has focused its efforts on race pace, knowing that Ferrari and Red Bull are, for now, out of reach on Saturdays.

Mercedes W13 rear wing Saudi Arabian GP
Mercedes W13 rear wing Saudi Arabian GP

The work that Mercedes is doing is incredibly intense, as it is not only trying to find the sweet spot of performance, but also oscillating between various settings, both mechanical and aerodynamic.

This became apparent when Hamilton and George Russell changed the rear wing configuration with and without the rear wing trailing edge Gurney flap (above), while also actively steering the car in a direction that is worsening the porpoising problems with in order to collect data and better understand how to deal with this issue.

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