F1 Gp Australia, why Hamilton’s Mercedes is in crisis: the technical reasons – Corriere.it

Of Piergiuseppe Donadoni

After winning eight Constructors ‘World Championships and seven Drivers’ titles in a row, Toto Wolff’s team did not read the rule change well and is penalized by the simulator’s busted data. And it takes time to recover

Mercedes had an unexpectedly difficult start to the 2022 season, and only thanks to Red Bull’s double retirement in Bahrain managed to get on the lowest step of the podium with Lewis Hamilton, while in Arabia came a fifth position for George Russell, more in line. with the performances of the W13. The silver car, in terms of performance, pays a gap between 7 and 9 tenths of a second compared to Ferrari and Red Bull, an eternity, thinking of the last seasons of Formula 1.

Porpoising is clearly the most serious ailment that afflicts the W13, something totally unexpected for the technicians of the world champion team, who are struggling in every session to be able to extract the maximum potential from a car that in the wind tunnel gave instead of the excellent results, considering that the important updates brought to the track in Bahrain should have guaranteed a second improvement compared to the car that took to the track in the Montmel tests (Spain).

Our priority is to resolve porpoising as the main reason that prevents us from extracting maximum performance from our car explains engineer Andrew Shovlin. So far, Toto Wolff’s team has had to use set-ups, even aerodynamic, very different from those developed with the simulation tools present in the factory. The deck is still quite short, so much so that the problem was mostly alleviated by lifting the car off the ground; this has caused him to lose a lot of downforce, since the new generation of cars must be able to run as close as possible to the ground, to maximize the vertical thrust produced by the Venturi tunnels.

We are slow because we lack downforce; due to porpoising, we don’t generate the right downforce we need commented Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull and Ferrari manage it much better and are extracting – perhaps not all – but certainly more than us. Many teams intervened with palliative changes on the underbody, removing parts to stop the car from rocking, according to Ferrari, at the expense of a small vertical load loss. Mercedes also made changes to the underbody in Bahrain, but without major results, so much so that they continued to use the original specification because we found an overall better solution with the old bottom, Shovlin added. Meanwhile, Brackley is working on one completely redesigned version that will debut in the next GP.

The world champion team would like to solve the problem without changing the particular philosophy of the car, called zero sidepods, a concept even more extreme than the one used in the past, unlike Ferrari which instead questioned the old principles; in fact, the Maranello team has developed a car with innovative bellies, which also act as flow deviators to remove the turbulent trail of the front tires from the bottom of the car, as well as protect the rear tires which would risk becoming an important aerodynamic wall, preferring then the passage of air towards the rear above the bellies and not on their sides. The discovery and the difficult management of porpoising then generated another negative aspect of the current W13. Not so much on the power unit, as on the drag, even if Mercedes can no longer count on the important advantage it had in the previous championships, being now the third motorist in terms of performance behind Ferrari and Honda.

The rear wing used in Bahrain, then modified in the movable flap for Saudi Arabia (also to save in terms of budget cap), was designed for the levels of downforce and performance that the wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) were showing them on a W13 without the perennial porpoising problem. With the heights from the ground used so far, the specific rear wing turned out to be ineffective and efficient, generating too much drag for the load generated by the car. It would have been important to put a lighter rear wing in the car, however, it was not available as it has not yet been built. Mercedes had in fact taken the time to produce a wing with a different concept, more efficient, which however will arrive shortly. In Australia, meanwhile, there are some minor updates on the W13, even if not easily visible, to improve its efficiency. However, Russell expects a performance similar to that of Sakhir and Jeddah.

I don’t see any reason why we should make any major steps forward the teammate said Lewis HamiltonToto Wolff echoed. There won’t be a magical solution for this weekend, but we are working hard to bring improvements to the next races, hoping they will allow us to get closer to the top. Until then, we will have to take every opportunity and make the most of the package we have.

April 7, 2022 (change April 7, 2022 | 13:06)

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