This post was contributed by Henk Ormel, who has been a much beloved member of our community at Wheel Sports and an incredibly insightful eye for feedback on technical matters.
My thoughts about the Mercedes W14. It is a quite complicated car to wrap my head around.
GET ONE MONTH FREE AND LEARN HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN WEBSITE HERE
To start with the front wing, a fairly high loaded inboard section to create as much downforce as possible and a high out washing outer section. The transition between the mainplanes and end plates is cut out and cranced outwards to create more outwash. The center of the front wheel hubs is placed well behind the most forward bulkhead because there is plenty of room between the front wheels and the most forward point of the most outer strake. The W14 doesn’t have an extended outer strake to push even more air outwards. The front wing takes care of the out wash.
The front suspension gives a down wash effect to channel the air into the vertical placed sidepod inlet. The wing shaped mirror support creates even more downwash to push onto the front section off the horizontal floor. The air witch comes underneath the front wing hits the floor inlet quite undisturbed just accelerated by the up washing front wing. The outer part of that air is blown outwards thru the transition off the floor inlet and the flat piece of floor. This creates a fairly powerful vortex which is now somewhat guided by the bigger and more to the floor edge placed sidepods. Also the angle between the floor and the lower side pods is almost perpendicular.
The problem with the W13 was that due to the shape of the ‘zero pods’ the floor sealing vortices were creeping upwards away from the floor edge. They ended up on top of the diffuser to disturb the pulling power of accelerated air.
With the W14 those vortices end up re-energized by the rear floor edge in between the rear tire and the diffuser to prevent tire squirt from entering the diffuser. The side pods pull inwards quite gently to the centerline off the car. The attached air is pulled in accordingly in a vertical plane and powers up the topside of the diffuser and the two element beam wing. This air is helping the diffuser to pull air out underneath the floor.
The nicely integrated slightly downwards pointing bazooka hot air outlets are pointed into the gap in between the beam wing and the rear wing. Those are also nicely surrounded for about ¾ with nicely accelerated cool air to keep the hot slow moving air concealed and away from the important aero surfaces.
The rear wing is hit by slightly downwashing air due to the mirror supports and the bazookas. This air is flinged upwards quite violently to create the wing generated rear down force.
The suspension is quite harsh and therefore costly in regard to mechanical grip. Due to that feature I think the stalling of wing elements at high speeds is not quite right. The suspension springs have to cope with too much aero load.
Off the expected upgrade at about Imola i do expect even more pronounced sidepods. This to guide the floor sealing vortices even more and make the floor therefore more efficient with less leaking losses.