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W15

Wolff adamant Mercedes front wing design is within technical regulations

Mercedes launched its newest F1 contender, which revealed its completely redesigned W15 featuring an intriguing concept that got the F1 paddock talking...

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Toto Wolff believes Mercedes has nothing to worry about after legality concerns have been raised regarding its front wing design.

Mercedes front wing design have come under scrutiny recently due to its innovative front wing design
Mercedes front wing design have come under scrutiny recently due to its innovative front wing design. Photo credits: Mercedes

Day two of pre-season testing is underway and one of the biggest aerodynamic talking points circling the paddock is about the peculiar Mercedes front wing design.

After failing to achieve anything significant with its W13 and W14 designs, Toto Wolff revealed the W15 car would be ‘completely different’ claiming every ‘component has been changed’.

This brought a lot of anticipation as to what the Mercedes would be launching. When the car was revealed last Wednesday, it displayed new innovative ideas and changes, the most notable being the front wing.

What is the design?

The concept features a single slender wire of carbon fibre which connects the upper flap to the nosecone. The other two flaps have been connected straight to the nosecone. The change would create a vortex flow that directs turbulent air, this in turn generates more downforce.

It seemed the team found a loophole in the FIA guidelines which originally banned detached wing elements to enhance close racing. Questions began to get raised about the legality of the design and if it was in line with the regulations.

However, in the FIA technical guidelines, Article 3.9.1  (section e) it states that: “with the exception of the rearmost closed section, the rearmost point of every closed section must not be visible when viewed from above” meaning the genius wing concept is completely compliant with the rules.

Wolff firm on designs legality

Wolff has been completely candour about the whole situation admitting the team has spoken to the FIA about the design and aren’t worried about having to remove it:

“What has been put on the car is always following an exchange with the FIA, all through the process,.” Wolff said to Sky Sports.

“It’s no such a thing that you have a clever idea and then you bolt it on to test and you think that could be or couldn’t be challenged.

“That is a long process of dialogue that happens over the winter. So I feel we’re in an ok place.”

Pat Symonds gives his say

F1 chief technical officer, Pat Symonds was a part of the rule making for the 2022 season and has previously worked as an engineer for Benetton and Renault gave his two cents on the situation.

Speaking to Ted Kravitz, Symonds the front wing is within ‘the letter of the law’, however, questions if its ‘really within the spirit of the rules’:

“Article 3 [of the regulations] dictates how the aerodynamic shapes are produced and it’s very clear in the opening statements, the rules aim to ensure we get this close following [between cars],” Symonds said.

“So really when you start to get things that are perhaps producing some outwash – and what we’re seeing here is really trying to reinstate quite a strong vortex to push that very turbulent air that’s coming from the front wheel, to try and push it aside. – one question is ‘is that really within the spirit of the rules?’

“It’s within the regulations, the letter of the law, no doubt about it. But is that the sort of thing we want?

“I don’t know, that’s perhaps a bit more debatable. I think we need to know really how strong is the effect.

Featured image credits: @MercedesAMGF1 on X

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