#F1 Forensics : Mercedes typhoon in Suzuka

Brought to you by TheJudge13 technical analyst: Lorenzo De Luca

Mercedes were uncatchable in Suzuka. Fast, much too fast for their competitors, and a win that was never in question for the Brixworth guys – even the threat of a typhoon didn’t stop their triumphant march as they close on their final epilogue.

This was a Mercedes that surged on the corners and straights of the glorious Japanese track; not even a Red Bull in a state of grace posed a serious threat to the Mercedes dominance, despite being the fastest cars on track for a good portion of the race.

Top 5 race pace comparison :


Race pace chart :


Qualifying sector times chart :


The charts above, show us how the weather conditions played a crucial role in the Japanese weekend, with Red Bull sacrificing the qualifying session to have a better chance during the race, and Mclaren with Button who delivered a tremendous race.

On the other side we have Williams who flew in qualifying but lost significant speed during the race, never in a position to be able to fight for the podium. It’s impossible to judge the Ferrari performance as there were obvious problems for Raikkonen driving this car and the poor (once again) Ferrari strategy in addition to the reliability issues that cost Alonso the race.

Finishing work for top teams

The season is about to end, and most of the teams are 100% focused on 2015 projects which means that 2014 development is almost abandoned – but not at all for some teams. Mercedes, for example, brought little upgrades on the W05 to Suzuka with some tweaks to their rear diffuser, which has now had the “U” element in the central section removed.

Mercedes W05 rear diffuser :


There have been changes to the floor and the bargeboards which are now attached to the vane to allow better adaptations of the car with the new diffuser, while on the floor has been added a winglet

Mercedes W05 side pod & floor :


There was also a small tweak on the Red Bull RB10 front wing too, which now has a double element turning vane on the cascade section, in order to increase downforce and better channel the airflow towards the front tires

Red Bull front wing :


It was a similar approach by Ferrari too, which in Suzuka tested a new rear wing with a new endplate with a third slot and a mainplane with a boomerang shape

Ferrari rear wing :


But the most important upgrade was once again under the engine cover, where Maranello engineers updated the insulation of the exhaust manifolds

Ferrari wrap insulation exhausts :


which maximized the recovery of energy through the exhaust gases.

If the top teams limited themselves to just some minor tweaks, the same thing can’t be said for Toro Rosso, which in Suzuka, finally introduced their new nosecone ( the second of this season) .

Toro Rosso nosecone comparison :


The new nose tip which has clearly been inspired by Red Bull, has a hollow bulb and two inlets on its underside to allow venting of air on the top of the nose (S-Duct). This is to increase pressure and avoiding the thickening of the boundary layer.

Toro Rosso S-Duct :


The monkey seat was a new addition but was replaced for the old one during the race as this provided more downforce.

Toro Rosso monkey seat :


The new one, has shorter profiles, with the aim of creating downforce without compromising the drag. Which proves useful on medium/high speed track.

Caterham also introduced new parts – such as the front wing which was completely revised in its design.

Caterham front wing :


The cascade, as we can see, now has 3 spoon shaped element with a double vane on the main plane. In its second version we have a big horizontal flap over the cascade and a single element turing vane on the main plane, whilst also adding a flap on the end plate for more downforce.




12 responses to “#F1 Forensics : Mercedes typhoon in Suzuka

  1. Jenson Button made another one his patented ‘strategy calls’ in a wet race to some success, again. Lol. Fascinating how he does that. But at the same time it is a sad reflection on McLaren. I hope the new partnership with Honda is fruitful, sooner rather than later.

    • even though i’m not the biggest button fan out there, i sincerly hoped he would get mclaren their second podium this season (maybe the last of his career). however, in true mclaren style they shot themselves in the foot once again.

  2. Echo the comments above – great stuff.

    One thought – did Hamilton also go slightly in the Red Bull direction with a wet setup?
    Would explain his cornering troubles in qualifying, and dominant pace during the race.

      • I’m not sure he did. In an interview Nico gave to the BBC after the race, he said they both had the same identical setup, so he was surprised that he too (Hamilton) didn’t complain about the same problems.

        When they first red flagged the race, they showed a clip of him in the garage talking to his engineer, could they have made a slight setup change then? That might help to answer why he didn’t experience the same problems as Nico.

        • I’m sceptical about “identical”.
          Their driving styles certainly aren’t, so (ignoring the wet setup question), that doesn’t make sense to me.

          • I don’t think their cars are identical, about the wet setup, we all know that nowadays there is no more a wet setup, rather engineers tweaks a bit springs and suspensions stiffness and/or ride height. My guess is that Lewis ran with a more soft suspensions settings that prevented him to be as fast as his team mate on Saturday, but gave him a more efficient setup on Sunday

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