‘Genius move’ but doubts over whether Mercedes innovation is worth ‘a second per lap’

Michelle Foster
George Russell driving the W15 in Bahrain testing.

Mercedes have an innovative legality wire front wing.

Mercedes’ innovative front wing has been called a “genius move” but it remains to be seen whether it brings the “one second per lap” the team needs to close the gap to Red Bull.

Mercedes brought a new front wing to the track at the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain, debuting their controversial legality wire wing.

The wing sees the uppermost flap connected to the nose cone by just a single carbon wire.

‘Hats off to their aero team. It’s such a lovely idea’

While it has been reportedly that the wing has been cleared by the FIA, questions remain as to whether it goes against the spirit of the rules.

Although detached wing elements were banned for 2022, the use of the wire means the wing is technically legal.

And pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz says it’s genius.

“It is a genius move, so credit to John Owen the designer here who has come up with that bit of magic on the front wing,” he said.

“Hats off to their aero team. It’s such a lovely idea.”

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But is it worth a second per lap?

The wing, though, is just one area where Mercedes have revamped the W15 as they look to close the gap to Red Bull after last year’s win-less campaign.

But with George Russell 1.6s down on, albeit, the opening morning of testing, the big question is have Mercedes done enough.

“Had they just stood still and developed what was an okay car – they got to the point where they could do some bits with it at the end of the year – then that would have been all right,” Kravitz continued.

“But they had to find a second per lap.

“Now that’s the big question for me, is this Mercedes a second per lap quicker than last year’s Mercedes?

“Well John Owen the designer will certainly hope so, the ideas with this front wing and trying to recreate the Y250 vortex, that’s the middle section, to try and get the air inside, through those front wheels.

“It’s a nice idea, is it going to work, are the rest of the things going to work as well? We will find out.”

It’s an idea that is said to have caught Red Bull designer Adrian Newey’s attention.

Having already incorporated some of Mercedes’ 2023 parts on this year’s RB20, the 65-year-old reported told the BBC that he had noted something “interesting” on the W15. He, though, did not confirm it was the wing he was looking at.

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