With the sport making the change to a ground effect philosophy for 2022, the floor of an F1 car is more important than ever.
This is because downforce is generated via the underside of the floor, using the rush of airflow underneath to pull the car closer to the ground. However, there are also more restrictions for the top of the floor due to a different shape being imposed and restrictions applied to the use of deflectors.
Paolo Filisetti, a seasoned F1 technical analyst, takes a closer look at the floor of the Mercedes W13 for RacingNews365.com.
The new Mercedes floor is very complex, especially on the sides of the car. Just behind the vertical barge board that is part of the venturi channel, we see a series of waves in the floor.
This wave pattern, as a whole, creates vortices that roll backwards along the underside of the car and thus along the floor to the side. This has the effect of sealing the floor's airflow and 'shutting down' the floor.
This means that the accelerated air under the car can't escape through the side, while the air from outside cannot cross the airflow under the car. The vortices serve as a type of 'side skirt', but only consist of air.
It is not a completely new trick from Mercedes, which applied the same solution to the floor of the W12 last year.
However, during the 2021 season, the team changed the floor on the major upgrade introduced at Silverstone. The winding waves gave way to long straight openings, which slightly improved the aerodynamic stability of the car.
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