Mercedes highlight power unit gains and tyre life improvements

Mercedes have addressed issues they felt needed improving for their new W10, and say they have also managed to improve their power unit.

Mercedes launched their 2019 challenger, the W10, on Wednesday in an online reveal. Their new look is a refined version of their existing aesthetic, rather than the radical camouflage look their social media suggested it could be prior to the launch.

In their press material, James Allison, the team’s technical director, outlined how the team had addressed areas they felt needed work, particularly in light of the changes to the technical regulations for aerodynamics:

“Regulation changes are an opportunity because all the old assumptions about what you need to have to be quick are swept away and, if you are fleet of foot and smart in dealing with that, you can do better than all the other teams that are tackling the same change. They are a threat because if you are not as smart and you didn’t see how to make the most of these new regulations, then you’ll certainly suffer in the coming season.”

“The handling of the W09 was a big improvement over the rather idiosyncratic W08,” said James. “We managed to be competitive at tracks which had plagued us in recent years. However, notwithstanding this improvement, we were still not as good as some of our competitors at preserving the performance of the rear tyres. We have worked hard on the suspension and aerodynamic characteristics to deliver a car that will be much kinder to its tyres – enough, we hope, to allow us to be competitive at all phases of the race and at each track on the calendar. 

“Even though the minimum weight limit was lifted by 10kg for 2019, weight reduction remains a real challenge on the current generation of F1 cars. Components that we felt were stripped to the bone in 2018 have been taken, one by one, and subjected to a further round of aggressive analysis to shave further weight from them. Some components surrender what feels like a giant step of half a kilo, others just a few grams, but collectively each of these victories add up to a handful of kilos that have been invested back in the car on aerodynamics, suspension and Power Unit to bring performance.” 

By comparison, the power unit has largely just been further refinement of Mercedes’ already leading engine. Since the hybrid era began in 2014, Merc’s power unit has been class of the field and Managing Director Andy Cowell explained that this year’s version worked on improving efficiency and deployment:

“We’ve made changes to the cooling architecture of the Power Unit, which hopefully provide aerodynamic benefit on the car and also provide efficiency benefit on the Power Unit – so, hopefully a win on both the chassis and on the Power Unit. Right at the heart of the Power Unit is the conversion of fuel into heat release in the combustion chamber and useful work out of the crankshaft. We have made steps on the combustion efficiency and on the ERS system. The marriage between the turbocharger assembly with the MGU-H, the inverter, the cells and the MGU-K: that whole system is now capable of operating more efficiently and helping with energy deployment through a race.” 

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for FormulaSpy.com - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website. https://www.patreon.com/thomasmaheronf1

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