Mercedes would need ‘months’ to change front wing design

Mercedes has opted for a more conventional front wing design

Mercedes is open to the possibility of emulating Ferrari’s front wing design but has cautioned that the fullness of such a project would take months to carry out.

This year heralds a number of revisions to aerodynamics regulations ahead of what is anticipated to be as a taste of more dramatic changes come 2021.

The front wings are not only 200mm wider and 200mm higher, but feature fewer elements, standardised endplates, no topside canards, and a restriction on underside strakes to two each side.

There has been a spectrum of approaches to deal with the changes, ranging from somewhat conventional looking wings to radical new designs where the outer ends of the elements converge in an attempt to make outwash.

Mercedes has stayed with a familiar concept while Ferrari and the affiliated Alfa Romeo (nee: Sauber) team have chosen the novel solution.

The pace of the latter two outfits during the first pre-season test in Barcelona, in comparison to Mercedes’ midfield performance, has led to questions about the influence of their respective front wing approaches.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, when asked about the front wing issue at an event for sponsor Petronas, noted that the team had a tendency to diverge from its competitors in car design.

“You need to be open minded,” he said.

“We have always had a different design philosophy to many of the other teams. We have gone longer than the other teams. We have never had rake in the car compared to some of the other teams.

“It is not because we believed our concept was superior in every angle, but we believe that the whole car power unit package was the best for us that way.

“Having said that, with new regulatory change, you need to be open minded about what the others have done. And if something functions better, every team at the moment will look at what the others have put on the car and try it themselves.”

While he was willing to consider alternatives, Wolff explained that the ramifications of changing the front wing would take months to work through.

“These are things you don’t do from one day to another,” he added.

“If you were to think to change the aerodynamic concept of the car, it is not a matter of days or weeks. It is a matter of months.”

The second four-day test, again at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, starts this evening (AEDT).

Antonio Giovinazzi in an Alfa Romeo sporting its innovative front wing pic: Alfa Romeo Racing Twitter

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