From Mercedes’ trend-setting front wing to Ferrari’s clever sidepod cooler installation, to McLaren’s new ride height, shorter nosecone and development pace, F1i technical expert Nicolas Carpentiers provides you images and explanations of this year’s standout technical concepts.
PLAYING CATCH UP WITH THE SILVER ARROWS
On the back of an already stunning 2014 campaign, Mercedes displayed an even greater dominance this year with 16 race wins, 18 pole positions, and 32 podium finishes out of 19 grand prix weekends. No wonder then to see a number of its concepts being copied, with varying degrees of success, by its competitors.
When time came to design its RA615H, Honda split the turbine from the compressor, which is one of the trademark features on Mercedes’ all-conquering PU106B.
Mercedes’ front wing and its characteristic six-element tunnel were heavily copied (we will get to it later), but so was its ‘Y’-shaped conjoined front wishbone (instead of a more conventional ‘V’ layout). A similar design appeared on both the Ferrari and Toro Rosso in Austria, a testament to the world champions’ influence in the field of aerodynamics too. That said, Toro Rosso was the first team to introduce this streamlined design at the back of its car.
Other examples of Mercedes’ concepts trickling down towards the competition include the two winglets that were added to the SF15-T’s rear crash structure. Whether these work together with the ‘monkey seat’ or not, the extra fins help generate more downforce without creating too much drag.
We can also mention the Mercedes-like ‘bat wing’ that was installed on the Ferrari at the US Grand Prix. This intriguing aero device was first introduced on last year’s W05 and kept on the 2015-spec Silver Arrow. Named after its curious-looking shape, the element is located in between the turning vanes and channels the airflow towards the lower part of the sidepods, while also helping generate healthy Y250 vortices.
Finally, Ferrari and Red Bull also leant towards Mercedes when it came to modifying the design of their front camera mounts, i.e in Silverstone for the Scuderia and in Budapest for the four-time world champions.