10 Mar 2014
Mercedes have the luxury of bringing aerodynamic refining parts at the last test with the team having covered significant ground in the previous two tests.
As part of these refinements we find new bargeboards ahead of the Sidepod, bargeboards have long been an essential way of managing the airflow dispatched from the front wing toward the sidepod. Over the years the FIA have done their best to curtail the size and placing of these devices as the teams came up with more inventive solutions. Last year we saw both Red Bull and Lotus using slotted bargeboards which leads to more efficiency in the region.
Mercedes have however taken this one step further with the introduction of a two element bargeboard. The stepped arrangement will allow airflow that isn't fully contained when it passes between the splitter/chassis to the front of the sidepod to join up with it further downstream. This injection of airflow further downstream should help to enhance to flow around the sidepod. Furthermore the Bargeboard is used in order to generate longitudinal vortices that's intent is to aid the Diffuser downstream. The splitting of this element therefore alludes to the team wanting to create another set of vortices to feed the floor/diffuser. The aim of the game as always is efficiency and so it comes as no surprise to me that this area is under close scrutiny with it able to yield some favourable results over a wide speed range.