Mercedes-AMG explains why F1's 2019 design rules should mean closer racing

Teams competing in the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship over the course of the past month have revealed their race cars for the new season, and in the lead up to this weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix Mercedes-AMG has dropped a video to explain some of the new design rules aimed at improving the spectacle of the sport.

Following the rules revolution of 2017, F1 cars underwent a dramatic change that saw them become wider and faster, though this made it tougher for close racing, primarily due to the effects of the aerodynamic wake, sometimes referred to as dirty air, generated by a lead car on the following car’s front aero. The result is that the following car loses front downforce, thus making it difficult to overtake.

The changes for 2019 look to alleviate the issue as much as possible and should result in closer racing and much more overtaking, the organizers promise. As Mercedes-AMG Technical Director James Allison explains in the video, front wings are now bigger and extend further forward but they’ve also lost some of the more complex designs, with the end plates becoming flat and the underwing strake count reducing from five to two.

The new front wings work in combination with new front brake ducts that have lost some of the aerodynamic gain cars from the previous season had, referred to as blown axle. Finally, the rear wings are taller, wider and simpler, which should result in increased drag and thus increased strength of the DRS. They also help to throw dirty air up and over a following car.

Subtle changes such as these will have to suffice until another round of radical changes are introduced for the 2021 season. Concept drawings for the 2021 F1 cars were shown last September and followed rule change proposals announced last April. Among the proposed rule changes are calls for louder, less expensive power units and the idea of standardized parts. Both Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG have voiced their displeasure over the latter in the past, however.

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