Uncovered: The new Mercedes W15 front wing with legality wire now removed

Uros Radovanovic
The Mercedes W15 front wing.

Mercedes brought an upgraded front wing to the W15 in Monaco

The start of the F1 2024 season has not been ideal for Mercedes as the team has struggled to find the performance and consistency needed to compete at the top.

In a bid to address their issues, Mercedes introduced a radically different front wing for the Monaco Grand Prix. This is likely just one of many upgrades aimed at improving their performance. Let’s delve into the technical aspects of this upgrade and explore how it might help turn their season around.

Mercedes looking to address struggles for form

It is unusual to see a team that has dominated this championship for so long now struggling and, quite simply, lacking speed compared to their nearest rivals above.

Their best performance this season was in Monaco, with George Russell finishing P5 and Lewis Hamilton P7 – note that Hamilton did not have a new front wing for that race.

After eight races this season, Mercedes is in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, while third-placed McLaren has almost twice as many points.

After the same number of races last season, Mercedes was in a secure P2 ahead of Aston Martin, Ferrari, and McLaren. The evident decline in performance compared to last year raises a perplexing question: how can a team with such extensive experience allow this to happen?

The Brackley-based team has been making some completely different decisions since the beginning of the new generation of cars.

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At the very start of the 2022 season, they were the only ones with the zero-sidepod concept, which quickly proved unsuccessful. However, it took Mercedes a year and a half to abandon that philosophy, and it is clear that they are still feeling the consequences of that bad decision.

Another of Mercedes’ alternative solutions was this season’s front wing, which they introduced at the beginning of the year.

It seemed that the “legality wire” they introduced then could bring more airflow to the car’s floor and undercut region, something you need if you want speed on the track.

Moreover, this detail was theoretically supposed to generate a strong vortex that would later help remove the dirty air from the front wheels more effectively from the car itself.

This vortex also has its name, Y250, and it was one of the key elements on older versions of the cars.

As we already mentioned, Mercedes removed the legality wire from the last element of the front wing.

Additionally, changes are visible on the endplate, nose cover, and the mainplane lines.

The main role of the new design is to consistently generate more downforce in different conditions and types of corners. In other words, Mercedes wants to increase the range in which the front wing operates efficiently and as it should.

The lower flap of the front wing is now much narrower, especially in the outboard section, while the flap above it is now much wider.

Another positive aspect is that engineers will now have much greater control over the moveable flap sections. This means that modifications from track to track will be greater, allowing better adaptation to the characteristics of a particular track.

The true test of the new design will be seen at the next race in Canada, precisely because of its characteristic slow corners.

Although Russell had a better result compared to Hamilton, who had the old version of the front wing, the nature of the Monaco track does not allow you to see the full potential. Regardless, Mercedes will have still gathered valuable data by comparing the two drivers on different specs, which can only help them.

Mercedes has announced several more upgrades are in the pipeline, which we will likely see in Spain and Belgium.

Their team of engineers will be hoping they have found the right path to bring Mercedes back to where they belong and into this very exciting battle currently contested by Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.

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