With the season soon to commence, F1 teams are looking to fine-tune their cars ahead of the Austrian GP. In some news that Mercedes fans will love and other fans will loathe, the Silver Arrows are going to try and unleash their full potential at Spielberg.
A little over a week ago, Mercedes Technical Director, James Allison, confirmed that the W11 that will hit the track in Austria will be very different from the one fans saw during the winter tests.
However, he didn’t reveal much, and fans were left in the dark about what upgrades/innovations they would bring to Austria. Until now…
According to a report by Motorsport, Mercedes have three new innovations to show-off in Austria. The first one, to which James Allison had alluded 10 days ago, is the introduction of a new aerodynamic package.
This was in development since March. The pandemic gave the Silver Arrows the time they needed to better the wind tunnel.
The second upgrade (in a sense) is the new petrol that the team will use. This new fuel will supposedly address the reliability problems the W11 faced, during the winter tests in Barcelona.
They have reportedly, also managed to solve a bearing lubrication problem.
However, the biggest innovation that they will test in Austria will be the simulation of the rear steering wheel. Motorsport reports, “Mercedes, at least in the free practice of Friday, could try again a solution that has made us discuss over time: we are talking about the simulation of the rear steering wheels.
“A solution that would perfectly match the exploitation of the DAS, allowing you to preserve the Pirelli rear tires on a track where very hot weather is expected.”
Having a steering wheel that controls the rear tires is prohibited, but Mercedes has found a legal loophole to get around it. Mercedes tried this in 2018 as well.
In an older article by Motorsport, they describe how such a simulation is possible. Mercedes simulate the rear steering wheel “by combining the good functioning of the hydraulic suspension with the brake by wire, the differential, and some engine functions.”
These seem to be some very interesting innovations that the Silver Arrows will bring to Austria. We’ll find out how these upgrades bolster their claim over the podium as well as their seventh consecutive title, soon enough.