The W09 is the first Mercedes Formula 1 car in which James Allison has had substantial input and in a video released by the team, he reveals that in tightening up the packaging around the chassis and the engine the team have managed to slim down the sidepods which could translate to a quarter second quicker on track.
Allison explained in the video. “The biggest one of those [changes] is down here in the sidepod. We’ve done an awful lot of work down there to try and make that car really, really slender. If you compared it to [the W08] you can just see the difference.”
“You can see that the bodywork bulges out around about where the engine and exhaust pack is. On the new car, this is a much, much more slender thing. It doesn’t look like much of a difference, but actually, when you add it all up that is something like a quarter of a second just there.”
“It doesn’t look like much of a difference but it was actually a huge amount of work – a lot of hair got lost in that project – but the end result is something which is pretty to look at, but much, much more importantly is an awful lot quicker.”
Allison also points to the new car’s suspension as a big step, “After that, you start to get into things that are much more subtle, and you need to be something of a petrolhead or an anorak to really notice. But the sharp-eyed ones among you have probably noticed the front suspension looks quite a lot different to last year’s.”
“The wishbones have been raised, that’s something that has been a trend on Formula 1 cars in the last few years. Raising those front wishbones brings better aerodynamic performance. It’s a big structural challenge but it’s definitely something that brings you more downforce and a quicker car,” added Allison.