Unveiling Mercedes’ new front wing: The story behind the legality wire

Uros Radovanovic
Mercedes have taken the covers off the very last Silver Arrows car that Lewis Hamilton will race in Formula 1

Mercedes have taken the covers off the very last Silver Arrows car that Lewis Hamilton will race in Formula 1

We are already accustomed to Mercedes using its ingenious and innovative solutions to bring additional performance to their cars in a different way from others.

This Brackley squad in the past taken mini-revolutions with bold moves and take a different path compared to their rivals.

Certainly, the most attention has been drawn to the front wing of the new W15, which differs in many ways from the W14 and other teams.

Mercedes debuted a radical front wing design on the W15

Specifically, Mercedes has implemented the so-called “legality wire” on the fourth or last flap of the front wing, connecting it with the car’s nose.

If you pay attention to the “legality wire,” you will notice that it consists of two parts to comply with the FIA regulations.

This design literally opens a “hole” on the front wing that could potentially be of great benefit for several reasons. Of course, the true reason may be known to Mercedes engineers, but we can certainly make a good assumption.

The first reason is that this thin wire material would create a vortex that would later move along the inner edge of the front tires. This effect can be achieved by creating high pressure on the fourth element and low pressure above the “legality wire” element.

In this way, the vortex would “control” the airflow and push dirty air away from the car – if directed correctly. This is one of the most important tasks of the front wing, and the overall aerodynamics depend significantly on this important characteristic.

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This opens up space for fresh and high-energy airflow to create a quality and controlled flow into the sidepods and around them – which is the second benefit of Mercedes’ innovative design. The inlet of the sidepods has a very unusual shape, and it is very likely connected to the front wing to function effectively together.

In addition, Mercedes has changed the position of the nose tip as well as the profiles. The nose is no longer connected to the first element, which has a peculiar spoon-like shape.

Whatever the final result, we must admit that this year’s Mercedes front wing is one of the better examples of interpreting the FIA regulations. The FIA has not yet commented on whether Mercedes’ front wing is entirely legal or not, but for now, it seems that Mercedes will get away with this design.

It will also be interesting to see how other teams react, considering that the design is relatively simple and easy to implement on their cars. However, a better question is how this change would affect the already defined aerodynamics of the entire car.

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