The result of more than a year’s work
Work on the new Formula One car for the 2019 season started 16 months before its release, when the team was still fighting for its fourth Championship title. The development work was spearheaded by a small group of engineers, working on the general concept of the car. Over the course of the 2018 season and in the midst of an exciting and challenging Championship fight, more and more engineers in both Brixworth and Brackley started working on the W10.
“Work on the W10 project began at the end of 2017,” said James Allison, Technical Director. “That’s when the first meetings happened about how the chassis was going to be laid out, how the Power Unit was going to change from the previous season and what our rough objectives were for the project. That was when we set out the plans for our deployment of resources, developing and racing the car in 2018 and the right number of the right people to design, conceive and then create the new car for 2019.”
On the chassis side, more than half of the engineers in the Design Office were working on the W10 by the 2018 F1 summer break. In October, when the F1 circus headed to the Americas and both the team and Lewis claimed their fifth World Championship titles, the factory was working flat out on the W10, designing and producing parts of the future contender. Overall, about 7000 drawings were released for manufacture.
Over the winter, many of the major components and sub systems like the transmission, the suspension, the cooling system and the Power Unit underwent rigorous testing, in which they were subjected to loads, temperatures and fatigue cycles similar to those they would experience in the F1 season. Before the car left the garage for the first time today, the team had tested something close to half a million kilometres cumulatively across all these different components.
“There are hours and hours that go into each piece, each assembly, each system, each full element and then the final Power Unit,” said Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains. “It is a huge moment when the Power Unit bursts into life and those countless hours are rewarded with fuel being converted into useful work. Yes, it is a machine, but it is part of people’s lives and it’s personal.”
The initial “Fire-Up” is another one of those special moments as it is the first time when all the core systems – the hydraulic system, the electrical system, the fuel system, the cooling system, the gearbox, the chassis and of course the Power Unit – are assembled and the engine runs for the first time in unison with the other systems.
“You’ve had a factory which had fallen silent for a few weeks, from the end of the last season to this moment, where an engine leaps into life in the factory again,” said James. “Even if you’re not down in the build shop, you can hear it, so is has a certain emotional impact on us because a motor is running and it is the living proof that all those components are not only assembled but they function. At the same time, you know that you’re only about half way there through the about 90 planned test events.”
New aero regulations drive significant changes to the W10
Compared to its predecessor, the Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ has changed substantially. The majority of those modifications were driven by the significant changes to the Technical Regulations for the 2019 Formula One season.
“Regulation changes are both opportunity and threat,” said James. “They are an opportunity because all the old assumptions about what you need to have to be quick are swept away and, if you are fleet of foot and smart in dealing with that, you can do better than all the other teams that are tackling the same change.
“They are a threat because if you are not as smart and you didn’t see how to make the most of these new regulations, then you’ll certainly suffer in the coming season. But they are always exhilarating because you have that sharp sense of anxiety that you might not be doing enough but equally the thrill and excitement of looking forward to finding out.”
In addition to dealing with the changes to the aerodynamic regulations, which were the main focus in the development of the W10, the team worked hard to improve the weaker areas of the previous car and further build on its strengths.
“The handling of the W09 was a big improvement over the rather idiosyncratic W08,” James added. “We managed to be competitive at tracks which had plagued us in recent years. However, notwithstanding this improvement, we were still not as good as some of our competitors at preserving the performance of the rear tyres.
“We have worked hard on the suspension and aerodynamic characteristics to deliver a car that will be much kinder to its tyres – enough, we hope, to allow us to be competitive at all phases of the race and at each track on the calendar.
“Even though the minimum weight limit was lifted by 10kg for 2019, weight reduction remains a real challenge on the current generation of F1 cars. Components that we felt were stripped to the bone in 2018 have been taken, one by one, and subjected to a further round of aggressive analysis to shave further weight from them.
“Some components surrender what feels like a giant step of half a kilo, others just a few grams, but collectively each of these victories add up to a handful of kilos that have been invested back in the car on aerodynamics, suspension and Power Unit to bring performance.”
Despite significant changes to many areas of the car, the W10 has retained some of the characteristics of its predecessors, as the general architecture and the wheelbase stay the same.
“A close inspection will reveal that the execution of this concept has been further refined,” said James. “Every item is pushed tighter, made more slender – each change permitting us to improve the aerodynamic performance beyond what would have been possible had we accepted the physical limitations of the 2018 design.”
Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ Technical Specification
|Monocoque:||Moulded carbon fibre and honeycomb composite structure|
|Bodywork:||Carbon fibre composite including engine cover, sidepods, floor, nose, front wing and rear wing|
|Cockpit:||Removable driver's seat made of anatomically formed carbon composite, OMP six-point driver safety harness, HANS system|
|Safety Structures:||Cockpit survival cell incorporating impact-resistant construction and penetration panels, front impact structure, prescribed side impact structures, integrated rear impact structure, front and rear roll structures, titanium driver protection structure (halo)|
|Front Suspension:||Carbon fibre wishbone and pushrod-activated torsion springs and rockers|
|Rear Suspension:||Carbon fibre wishbone and pullrod-activated torsion springs and rockers|
|Wheels:||OZ forged magnesium|
|Brake System:||Carbone Industries Carbon / Carbon discs and pads with rear brake-by-wire|
|Steering:||Power-assisted rack and pinion|
|Steering Wheel:||Carbon fibre construction|
|Electronics:||FIA standard ECU and FIA homologated electronic and electrical system|
|Instrumentation:||McLaren Electronic Systems (MES)|
|Fuel System:||ATL Kevlar-reinforced rubber bladder|
|Lubricants & Fluids:||PETRONAS Tutela|
|Gearbox:||Eight speed forward, one reverse unit with carbon fibre maincase|
|Gear Selection:||Sequential, semi-automatic, hydraulic activation|
|Overall Length:||Over 5000mm|