F1: Hamilton and Russell continue to sandbag the ‘trick’ Mercedes W13
Make no mistake about it, the Mercedes team will not unleash the full speed of their new ‘trick’ W13 until Q3 in Bahrain. Not only is the ‘trick’ engine that only the factory Mercedes team gets to use, it’s trick minuscule sidepods reduce the drag of the car significantly.
Between the low drag and the superior HP, the W13 is going to fly down the straights and leave all the other drivers gasping for air.
The rumors that Mercedes were bringing a significantly different W13 to Bahrain testing have proven to be true – the car has dramatically narrower sidepod inlets.
In place of the original frontal bulge, which housed quite big radiator inlets, is a dramatically narrower housing that slants heavily inwards at the top when viewed from straight on. This forms a narrow vertical triangular slit for the radiator inlets.
It’s not clear if the radiator layout within has been changed or – more likely – a more effective route for the cooling has been devised, which gives a higher speed to the cooling air. Further back, the sidepods are much as they were before.
The extra space at the front of the car’s floor will help funnel the air to the back, through the coke bottle section of bodywork and exiting in between the rear tire and the venturi exit ramps. The more airflow on the top of the underbody tunnels as the air exists, the more downforce those venturis will produce.
In other words, the W13 is going to fly both down the straights and through the corners.
Speaking in the lunchtime press conference on Thursday, Wolff couldn’t hide his satisfaction at Mercedes’ eye-catching design, which was radically different to the one they used at Barcelona pre-season running in February.
“I think there [are still] issues that are… Bahrain-specific,” added Wolff. “It’s very hot, you see a lot of cars still bouncing – some on the straights, others through the corners – so it’s a tuning question. And we haven’t really looked at performance data yet,” i.e. they are sandbagging.
George Russell said, “I guess it looks interesting, but it’s not about how it looks, it’s about how fast it goes – so I don’t really have any more thoughts than that.
“It obviously caught quite a few people’s eyes this morning,” he went on. “And I guess from my side, I’m proud to be part of a team that’s pushing innovation and all this hard work, you know, blood, sweat and tears going into it, seeing something pretty spectacular being pulled off is pretty incredible.
“But as I said, it doesn’t matter what it looks like; we need to see if it’s fast on track.”
If our assumptions are correct, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will win every pole and every race and at way before the end of the season Hamilton will win his 8th crown.
Let’s see how it plays out once they stop sandbagging.
Mark C. reporting for AutoRacing1.com