Mercedes front wing change would take ‘months’

On this week’s podcast, I was discussing the idea of front wings and how Mercedes was a more traditional approach while Ferrari’s was swept down and away from the center in an effort to move the outwash of air around the front tire.

We could argue that Ferrari’s is a better design than Mercedes but it is difficult to know that definitively. I said on the podcast that it wouldn’t surprise me to see Mercedes come with a new front wing profile this week for testing. Today, Toto Wolff answered a few questions and addressed that very topic.

“…with new regulatory change, you need to be open minded about what the others have done.

“And if something functions better, every team at the moment will look at what the others have put on the car and try it themselves.”

“These are things you don’t do from one day to another. If you were to think to change the aerodynamic concept of the car, it is not a matter of days or weeks. It is a matter of months.”

I understand the complexity of changing the front wing profile and the impact it would have on the overall package. The car is a complete aero device so making change at the leading edge of the air will have a major impact.

However, I still think they could make this change for testing to see if it works. I think they have enough tools and talent to pull it off quickly regardless if the Autosport article says it would be hard to do.

Having said that, the reality is that Mercedes may not feel that a front wing change is absolutely needed right now and that taking a couple months to develop it would be ok. Perhaps an upgrade for the Spanish GP.

Will Mercedes change their front wing profile? I think they will during the season, most teams do. Ferrari will tweak their as well. Will Mercedes change it before Australia or even the next test session? Hard to know but Toto is suggesting it take longer than that.

In the article, Toto is very proud of the way Mercedes approaches their design and says the team has always down their own thing but you have to be open-minded…yes, you do.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Heath Newland

depends on how far ahead the Ferrari is in Melbourne

Richard Piers

The front wing is probably the most complex single assembly on the modern F1 car. A multi part prototype will require to be designed, made and tested and may require more than one iteration. Each section will then require a mould to be made before production. Hugely expensive and inevitably with a significant lead time.


That’s just fabricating the part itself! Fundamentally changing the front wing would probably require substantial changes to the entire car’s aero package. The big challenge with racecar aerodynamics is not making each individual component do its job; it’s making all of the components work together as the air flows from piece of bodywork to the next. If you change the entire purpose of the front wing from primarily generating downforce to primarily changing outwash, you’ve changed how your floor, bargeboards, brake ducts, air intakes, diffuser, and rear wing work as well. Not to mention that the car balance would totally… Read more »


Looks like this guy scared Mercedes might have a little disadvantage even desperately wanting Mercedes to change its wing now