Mercedes could clinch a record-equalling sixth straight constructors’ crown in Japan this weekend, emulating the achievement of Ferrari from 1999 to 2004. What better time, then, to take a closer, never-before-seen look at this year’s Silver Arrow…
Having won every title since 2014, the reigning world champions stayed faithful to their long-established long-wheelbase/low-rake concept for 2019’s W10, even with the change in aero regulations for the current campaign.
However, the emphasis was changed away from high-speed front downforce to a more balanced spread between front and rear downforce, with more emphasis on low-speed performance. This brought with it some penalty in aerodynamic efficiency, but was a better match with the full spread of circuit types on the calendar.
With a major regulation change, the rate of improvement in the wind tunnel of the initial model tends to be very steep. For this reason Mercedes decided to build a car for the first week of testing in January to the spec that had been reached in the tunnel by the end of November. This ensured that the car would be ready while still giving the aero team several more weeks to develop a more sophisticated package that could be fitted on the second week of testing.
The car answered the demands of the new regs with a full-depth front wing at the outboard ends, in contrast to rivals Ferrari which opted to not load the outboard end so much, so as to achieve a greater outwash around the front wheels.
The car received regular updates, with major packages of changes at Barcelona and Hockenheim. The latter update incorporated into it an enhanced cooling package as the original radiator sizes had been under-specced for extreme conditions, as was revealed in the Austrian Grand Prix.
With this package in place, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton went on to win in Hungary – and it’s that specification model that you can explore in incredible 3-dimensional detail above.