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4 Feb 2013

Following on from the debacle Mercedes made of a pre-launch on Saturday the team have unveiled their 2013 challenger at Jerez this morning.

As we expected from first glance their isn't anything revolutionary on the car and just like many of the other teams the car represents a step forward from it's predecessor.

Above: Mercedes W04 - Front Wing & Nose

Above: Front Wing & Nose of the W03 at Interlagos in Brazil

At the front of the car the Front Wing carries over from the W03 which I’d assume like the other teams is simply a placeholder and we will see an evolution over the next few days/tests. The Front Wing Pylons are also a direct carry over from it's predecessor and are likely to remain unless the team decide to re-design their nose. In terms of the nose the team have opted to use a vanity panel in order to smooth out the central portion of the nosecone but the outer ridges and general flattened approach at the tip remain, giving the impression of a semi step nose.  Underneath the nose the L Shaped turning vanes remain (at least for now)

The team continue to utilize push rod suspension at the front of the car but have amended the position of the FOM cameras to a more forward position which alter the airflow presented to the suspension and control arm members.

 Above: The W04 Sidepod Configuration

Above: The W03's Sidepod Configuration

As we can see in the comparison images above some amendments have been made to the Sidepods and associated aero in order to fully extract performance from the Semi-Coanda setup. The Inlet has been re-sculpted and raised in order to further allow the airflow passage through the undercut, whilst ontop of the Sidepod we find an additional Vortex Generator.  In front of this the team used a singular cockpit fin underneath the mirror mount in the latter part of 2012 whilst now they have opted to place 3 fins each with increasing magnitude as they tail backward.  These fins help to vorticise the airflow that travels over the Sidepod reducing the boundary layer (Boundary Layer increases with distance).
The Vertical Sidepod Airflow Conditioner thats mounted outbound of the Sidepod on the edge of the floor has also been amended to cater for the re-shaping of the Inlet and Undercut.

As we can see in the rearward facing shot above the Sidepods top edge utilises a long downwash ramp to the exhaust channel.  The 3 slots to the side of the exhaust channel are used for exiting radiator airflow and will aid in the manipulation of the exhausts intended target.

The Semi-Coanda exhaust system the team employed throughout stages of their 2012 campaign has been re-purposed in the W04's layout.  The tail or overhang has been re-orientated and raised to better utilise the effects of the Coanda system as the team struggled when they first introduced it last season.  The Coke Bottle area affords good room for airflow with what looks like a scalloping of the floor leading the starter motor area making for gains in the diffuser.  In the lower image also notice the curved vertical floor strake which should create an elongated vortex between the floor and tyre helping to seal the diffuser by manipulating the exhaust plumes reach.  We can also see that the team have adopted a Tyre Squirt reducing slot ahead of the rear wheel to further aid in this area, however in order for this to be legal there must be a break in the floor which from the images we have of this area I can't see one yet.

From this aerial view it would appear that Mercedes like McLaren, Force India, Ferrari and Sauber have also followed Red Bull's lead in the adoption of using the Lower Wishbone to shroud the halfshafts negating the Magnus effect and how it effects the exhaust plume.

We can also see Mercedes continue to use their small throated entrance Monkey Seat and perforated diffuser gurney.

From the outset the W04 looks like a solid re-interpretation of the W03 we will just have to wait to see if Mercedes continue to assess the DRD they tested last season and as we can see from the last image they do have a centralised mounting hanger on the underside of the mainplane.

Check back throughout the day, as more images are revealed I'll undoubtedly pick up on more details


  1. What is DRD? Thanks

    1. I'm guessing it means a Drag Reduction Device? Though their acronym for it is RFA - Rear Flap Actuator

    2. DRD = Drag Reduction Device a title myself and Scarbs are using in order that fans don't get confused with DDRS. Here's a piece I did on it:

  2. Hi Matt
    Did you see the appendix at the bottom of the rear wing?
    What do you think is?

    1. I did see the hanger mounted under the mainplane, I've added a new picture of it now it's come through. It's either an airflow stabiliser for the Monkey Seat (Debatable) or more likely a way of supporting a DRD

  3. Hi Matt,

    I have read an article claiming the car has an interlinked suspension ? Is this true, if so what are the benefits ?


    1. It is correct but not new, many teams run interlinked suspension (RBR, Lotus, McLaren and others) but where their systems control heave the Mercedes one controls heave and roll. The W03 ran with the dual interlinked system but was compromised by their use of DDRS and like the rest of the field struggled with contact patch issues with the Pirelli tyres. Now DDRS is banned and the new Pirelli tyres construction has altered their suspension may well give them a mechanical and aero advantage.

  4. There seems to be the mandatory cut in the tyre squirt Visible on the shadow are two slots.

  5. Are those horizontal slats on the RW end plate? Would they/Do they have a 'similar' effect to the vertical slats on the F138's rear wing?

    1. I assume you mean the horizontal louvres at the front edge of the Wing which help to bleed off high pressure which in turn reduces drag. These are common throughout the field, the F138's RW endplate slats offer a different solution to which I will blog about over the coming days.

    2. Thank you Matt. Great insight as ever! I look forward to the piece on the F138.

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  7. Nice review, i think they done good work with suspension, we will see.

  8. Nice Blog, thanks for sharing the valuable information.


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