FIA ban Mercedes innovation

Mercedes will hope that they will be able to return to winning ways in 2023 without the need for radical car part designs.

The Austin Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas was the turning point for Mercedes last season, as a whole host of upgrades allowed Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to push the Red Bulls and Ferraris for a race win for the first time in 2022.

While a race win did not come until Brazil, courtesy of Russell, the upgrades brought by the Silver Arrows to Austin allowed the team to be competitive in the USA and Mexico.

While changes to the underfloor did have a huge effect on the W13’s performance, there is one upgrade that travelled to Austin and Mexico, but never saw time on the racetrack after parc ferme rules came into play at the end of Q3.

A radical new front wing design was spotted in the team’s garage that sported multiple slot-gap generators that are supposed to be in place to regulate the gap between each section of the wing.

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The generators in this wing had no structural purpose, however they did redirect airflow in the aim of giving the W13 an aerodynamic boost.

Mercedes never debuted the innovative design due to the concerns raised by the FIA, who may have penalised the team had they found the wing illegal.

Despite being run on the W13 during a practice session in Mexico, it is now highly unlikely that a design of this nature will ever be seen during a Grand Prix, as the FIA how now revised the rules in which Mercedes found the slot-gap loophole.

The original technical regulations stated that slot-gap generators only had to ‘connect consecutive profiles’ of the front wing, meaning that after some revision of their initial design, Mercedes’ wing was technically legal.

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The revised regulation now states that a ‘structural connection’ between consecutive profiles is needed to make slot-gap generators legal, taking Mercedes back to the drawing board.

Mercedes will be hoping that they will not have to result to such radical ideas in 2023 to be able to compete with their rivals, after Toto Wolff admitted that the entire team was brought back to earth following the end of their title winning streak.

It was more like a crash landing for the Silver Arrows, who finished over 200 points behind winners Red Bull, never really laying a glove on the energy drink giants over the course of the season.