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Since the end of testing in Barcelona, many observers have expected Mercedes to unveil in Bahrain a modified one-seater version compared to the one that ran on the track during the three days of February near Montmelo. And in recent days, the Italian press, especially through information revealed by the Corriere della Sera newspaper, has reported a possible revolutionary trend, the absence or actual absence of pontoons, pushing the concept of purging both sides to an extreme level.
The first pictures of the W13 on Thursday morning confirm all this because it is in fact a radically modified single seat with very narrow sides that were taken out of the German brand’s garage, before being brought to the net for a pre-season group photo. The remainder of the pontoons float above their height and form a slope towards the rear, logically leaving plenty of room on the sides and rear of the floor for airflow. We note the presence of large cooling vents on the side pillars themselves or slightly aft and higher at the level of the hood.
Because of this configuration, the upper side-impact (SIPS) structure is fully extended and separated from the floats themselves, just above the air intake. This interpretation is unique in the sense that it stands in stark contrast to the recent development of the team’s designs (which originated in a technical selection made by Ferrari in 2017) as well as the intent of the regulations that defined the area they were to be in. SIPS imagined that the stables would all adopt a traditional pontoon form. and its entrances. So Mercedes chose to separate the pontoons and the SIS, which is a first.
Seven-times world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton will take charge of this new edition of W13 this morning, before George Russell takes over in the afternoon session.
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