While Mercedes' incredible mileage was one of the main talking points from pre-season testing, it was not the only thing that left onlookers impressed by the Formula 1 champions ahead of next week's season opener.

By: Jonathan Noble, Formula 1 Editor

While Mercedes' incredible mileage was one of the main talking points from pre-season testing, it was not the only thing that left onlookers impressed by the Formula 1 champions ahead of next week's season opener.

For as well as the impressive reliability that set a new benchmark for preparations, Mercedes proved pretty bold in delivering a spate of upgrades to its car.

And it was that run of radical parts – which included unique bargeboards and a bold front wing – that Nico Rosberg highlighted last week as something that has impressed him most about the team.

“It was looking at the new car which was the crucial factor for me,” he said, speaking at a Mercedes media event in Germany.

“Just by looking at it from the outside, you can see that we're innovating and that we're really trying to be one step ahead of the other people - cause that's what we need to do.

“Leading the way, the others are always going to be able to copy you, you know, and so they will come closer and closer.

“So what you need to do to stay ahead is bring new stuff, stuff nobody has seen before. And I think we brought a few things on the car that have never been done in that way in F1.

“And that really shows what an awesome level we are at now as a team.”

Here then is how Mercedes led the innovation stakes in testing.

Mercedes tech innovation

By Matt Somerfield

Mercedes was by far the most proactive team during both pre-season tests, with an array of ground-breaking parts being trialled on the W07 – which completed an astonishing 1790 miles over the two tests.

Front wing

Mercedes AMG F1 W07 front wing detail

Whilst the front wing isn't discernibly different to the specification used on the W06, last season, it was amended alongside a revised nose, with the juncture with the mainplane changed.

This has a marked effect on how the Y250 vortex is shaped and will undoubtedly have an impact on the flow structures downstream.

The team has continued to employ the serrated front wing flap we saw used during 2015 too, which helps to improve the overall performance of the front wing.

The nose incorporates an S-duct. However, it is a departure from the installations we have seen over the last few seasons, from the likes of Red BullMcLaren and Force India, with the inlet placed much further forward.

Regulations specify that only a driver cooling hole can be placed in the nose forward of 150mm from the front wheel centreline, which is why we have seen previous iterations use truncated pipework.

The area in which Mercedes has its inlet is more desirable to delivering more performance and so it has worked on a clever interpretation of the regulations to permit a hole, that is not a hole. 

Rules specify that there must be single-section in this area of the car and so, like the 'nostrils' employed by Force India, if you were to take a slice through the nose at the point of the inlet you'd never actually discern a hole.

The S-duct is used to move airflow from the underside of the nose and dispatch it over the upper surface, powering nearby airflow back to the surface through the use of the 'Coanda effect', repurposing airflow that would ordinarily detach and lose performance.

Turning vanes

Mercedes revised its turning vanes at the same time as its nose, with the footplates treated to six slots which help to energise the airflow that passes around them.


Mercedes bargeboards

Whilst not revolutionary in their own right, the serrated bargeboards that Mercedes adopted during the first test, sit astride and alongside nine floor extensions.

Reaching out from the floor of the W07, these floor extensions help to align the wake shed by the front tyre in yaw.

They have a cascading effect that retains a similar shape to the airflow, irrespective of the tyre angle, improving performance through consistency.

Airflow conditioners

Mercedes W07 barge boards comparison

Another area in which the W07 stands apart from the opposition is the team's new airflow conditioners. Ordinarily these stand upon the axe head section of the floor for structural integrity.

However, Mercedes has created two distinctly separate devices, with a short 'r' vane now mounted atop the axe head.

The airflow conditioner is fully detached, mounted to the shoulder of the sidepod instead, and terminating in a curved profile just above the 'r' vane. 

These changes work in unison with both the revised bargeboard and vane that hangs from the sidepod shoulder (below), improving how the airflow moves around the sidepod.

Mercedes AMG F1 W07 detail

Rear wing

Mercedes mounted a totally revised rear wing assembly on day one of the second test, which featured two much taller leading edge tyre wake slots, rather than the short singular slot.

You can also note that it has carefully shaped the end plate just under the flapped section to define the flow structures.

The cut out behind the flapped region has also been revised as the team explores ways of changing how the tip vortex forms, as this can be damaging to performance.

Meanwhile, the serrations used by Mercedes, rather than vertical strakes used by other teams, to entice up wash have been increased in frequency from two to three.

The flaps have also undergone some changes from the first test specification, with the upper flap now featuring a straight outer edge, whilst the centreline V groove has been shrunk too (marked in yellow).

Meanwhile, the centreline dip has been inverted (marked in purple).

Mercedes AMG F1 W07 rear wing detail