LEWIS HAMILTON’S Mercedes team have unveiled the car they hope will allow him to fight Max Verstappen.
Since scrapping this year’s design after the first 60-minute practice session in Bahrain, Merc chiefs have shuffled their design team and come up with a whole new package.
Lewis Hamilton’s new car will hopefully be able to compete with Red BullCredit: PA
Mercedes have spent £1m on the upgrades
The radical changes have cost over £1million in parts alone – with the factory operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to get them ready in time.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team have dominated this season winning all five of the opening races.
Here, SunSport takes a look at the changes Mercedes have made in the hope of tackling the Dutchman.
The most obvious design change to Hamilton’s car. Perhaps almost smugly, Merc had thought they had come up with a revolutionary zero-side pod design in 2022.
They were the only team to do it – and blindly stuck with it for 15 months. Finally, they realised they were chasing a lost cause and reintroduced the bulbous parts of bodywork.
The extra surface area will increase downforce and the new design meant the team had to redesign the car’s radiators that sit under the bodywork.
It does mean the car is now slightly heavier by around 500 grams but it means that the new Silver Arrow looks more like their rivals.
2. Front Suspension
The second big change is the top of the wishbone suspension has moved inward and upwards.
The higher suspension has a number of benefits. Firstly, the improved airflow increases downforce but Merc also believe the change will improve the stability of the car under braking.
That will increase their drivers’ confidence when stamping late on the brake pedal that the car will not skip out of line.
A final benefit will result in the air running over the suspension into the sidepod and into the radiator to help with cooling.
3. A New Floor
In the past, F1 cars have relied on downforce, wind rushing over bodywork to press the car into the ground allowing the drivers to take corners quicker.
This new generation of cars work in a different way where the primary aerodynamic principle is to suck the car to the ground.
As a result, the front and rear wings are less intricate, but the underside of the car’s floor has become extremely crucial.
It means that Merc have redesigned the underside of the car to accommodate the wider bodywork, without causing the return of porpoising – the dreaded bouncing we saw last year.
4. Engine Cover
With the redesigned floor and sidepods, the team have also reshaped the engine cover.
This improves the downforce of air over the top of it, but also helps channel the air into the rear wing for more downforce.
5. Rear Wing
With the new volume of air passing over the car, the rear wing has been tweaked accordingly to take the increase.
Like the other, larger body panels, the larger surface area will help to create more downforce, ultimately allowing the cars to tackle corners faster.