Mercedes Secret Floor Revealed, Bottas Hampered By Gearbox Issue

Mercedes hid the W12’s rear floor when they unveiled their 2021 challenger in a live presentation earlier this month.

Mercedes W12 secret rear floor -

Mercedes have revealed the rear floor of their 2021 car, the W12, as day one of pre-season testing got underway in Bahrain on Friday.

The Silver Arrows opted to hide the rear floor area – the part of the car most affected by the changes to the technical regulations this season – when they unveiled the W12 earlier this month.

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“The bit we’re not showing you is down along the edge of the floor,” Mercedes technical director James Allison said as they unveiled the W12.

“That area is the area that was most affected by the new regulations where they tried to pull performance away from the car by changing the floor regs.

“And down there, there’s a bunch of aerodynamic detail that we are not quite ready to release to the world.

“Not because it’s not there, but because we don’t want our competitors to see it, we don’t want them starting to put similar things in their wind tunnels. It just buys us a couple of weeks extra.

“We all look very closely at what our competitors do, so we know our competitors will be looking. We don’t have to show it yet, so we’re not,” he added.

The new rear floor is noticeably different to the W11’s, with Mercedes introducing a rippled effect in response to the ban on slots that was introduced for this upcoming season.

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“It looks like Mercedes has gone to extreme lengths in inducing underfloor vortices at the outer edges with these ripples. This was previously done with the now banned slots,” F1 tech expert Mark Hughes said.

Mercedes Have Nightmare Start To Pre-Season Testing

Mercedes will go into the new season as Championship favourites, with them winning every title contested in the turbo-hybrid era of Formula One.

However, the Silver Arrows got off to a nightmare start to the three-day Bahrain test, with Valtteri Bottas – who drove the car in the morning Friday session – only putting in a single installation lap before having to head back to the garage due to a gearbox issue.

This issue kept the W12 in the garage for most of the morning session, but Bottas did eventually hit the track with around 30 minutes of the session remaining.

Mercedes will be hoping that Sir Lewis Hamilton is able to get some good running time in the afternoon session as they look to collect data and get an understanding of how their new car is performing on the track.  

READ: In Pictures: 2021 F1 Cars Take To The Track In Bahrain Pre-Season Testing