Mercedes officially revealed today their 2012 challenger, the W03. We now have the time to take a slightly closer look at it, and some of its detailing.
The front wing is a complete redesign (1). Mercedes have produced this three-element front wing (which is the first time they are adopting the concept), which has all these intricate and elaborate details, with very pronounced cascades and turning vanes under the nose. The nose itself (2) represents a slightly extreme interpretation of the rules, with the side bulges rising very high in comparison to the height of the nose. The smoothed 3-D surfaces between the bulges look very well thought-out and designed. It definitely looks to be more efficient and less draggy than, say, Ferrari’s or Sauber’s solutions. Behind the air intake for the engine (which, as we have already said, has 2 exposed structural members) we can see an additional air intake (3) for gearbox / hydraulics cooling. The front suspension (4) utilises pushrod architecture. Finally, if rumours about their front F-duct are correct, this (5) is the entrance of the air going into the air valve that we described in our previous blog posts.
The exhausts (6), as we have already explained, are situated quite far forward, but this is not expected to be the final solution. As you can see in the picture below, the car was running yesterday (20/02) during filming with additional gills right next to the exhaust outlets, so we expect to see similar solutions from Mercedes during testing. The rear beam wing is supported by a swan-neck mount (7), similar to other solutions already seen this year. The rear suspension (8) features a pullrod (like all other 2012 contenders) and heat shields. Finally, as you can see (9), the DRS mechanism is not apparent. It seems that all hydraulics are directed via the endplates and they will be using a step motor to operate the rear wing upper element.
All in all, this seems to be a very contemporary and elegant interpretation of the rules, with a lot of scope for development. Provided that the basics of the car are OK, then Mercedes should be able to take the next step and challenge the top 3 teams with a bit more credibility and consistency.