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  Mercedes-AMG W13 E Performance      

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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:2022
Predecessor:Mercedes-Benz W12 E Performance
Successor:Mercedes-AMG W14 E Performance
Source:Company press release
Last updated:February 22, 2022
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAs dawn breaks on a brand-new era for Formula One, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team today launched its challenger for the 2022 season – the Mercedes-AMG F1 W13 E Performance. With the sport’s most significant technical regulation change in a generation, the factories at Brackley and Brixworth have been bristling with activity to respond to the challenge and identify every possible opportunity to unlock performance.

After 18 months of hard work, the end result is the W13, a car which is 98% new and freshly designed from tip-to-toe with minimal carry-over from its predecessor. Behind the wheel of the W13 for the 2022 season will be a new driver partnership of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who graduates from the Mercedes Young Driver Programme to step up to the eight-time world champion Mercedes-AMG works team.

“Ever since work on W13 began, I have seen an excited enthusiasm in our team members like never before, thanks to the scale of opportunity that these technical regulations provide,” said Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. “Towards the end of the year when the car build project truly came together, I felt a deep passion across the whole organisation, not only in the technical arena but across our bases at Brackley and Brixworth who were embracing a mindset of 'we can do this'”.

“We did pretty well during the last big regulatory change into the hybrid era and performed well when we went from the narrow to the wide cars in 2017. While we have a good track record, my message is clear: we can't rely on past success for this year's performance, but we can rely on our people, our culture, our structure, and our mindset to do the best possible job for 2022”, continued Toto.

The team’s 2022 challenger will be named the ‘Mercedes-AMG F1 W13 E Performance’, with W13 representing the thirteenth car produced by the Mercedes-AMG works team since re-entering F1 in 2010. The ‘E Performance’ technology label signifies the continued close collaboration between the team and Mercedes-AMG, with the label featuring on all new AMG performance hybrid cars.

The technical regulation changes for 2022, whose introduction was delayed by a year as F1 negotiated the COVID-19 pandemic, represent a fundamental shift in design rules and one of the biggest regulatory changes the sport has ever seen.

“On the chassis side, the changes are huge,” said Mike Elliott, the team’s Technical Director. “We haven’t had a change as big as this one in my career. I think there are three aspects to this: first, the way the regulations are constructed is very different, particularly for aerodynamics, and that has a big impact. Second, what they are trying to achieve with the aerodynamics means the cars are fundamentally a different shape. Third, this is the first time we will have attempted such a big change under a cost cap.”

The W13 is the product of a complete redesign from top to bottom, with the steering wheel the only carryover element from its predecessor. Operating with a blank slate and such a steep development curve has been a stimulating experience for the engineers at the team’s Brackley base and something they’ve relished.

“Engineers love a challenge and therefore it is a fantastic opportunity to do something fresh. In the aerodynamic world, normally you are chasing after little bits and pieces, but with such big regulation changes, the gains have been coming in big chunks which is quite satisfying,” Mike explained. “On the flipside, we’ve had a period of success, winning the last eight Constructors’ titles and this is a reset. All the teams have started from scratch with the model provided by F1 and you don’t get to carry over the benefits or fix the issues from last year’s car, so everyone began this journey at the same level.”

However, the Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions introduced in 2021 - aimed at levelling the playing field - mean teams have had varying amounts of development opportunity at their disposal, with aerodynamic testing allocated on a sliding scale based on a team’s finishing position in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship.

“The teams have started with different allocations of runs in the wind tunnel and hours of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) so it has the potential to really mix up the order,” Mike adds. “That’s an exciting test as an engineer but there is obviously some risk in there too, in terms of our competitive position.”

Under previous technical regulations, the component detail on the cars was far greater and small pieces of aero furniture, working in unison, contributed a large amount of aerodynamic performance. For 2022, teams will find performance gains in more fundamental shape changes and bigger components than in previous years.

“Getting to the desired aero shapes has meant a complete internal repackaging, right down to the electrical layout and where we fit things like the ECU. The suspension has been redesigned to account for the loss of hydraulics and remote springs, now banned in the new regulations. Hopefully, you will also see that we have taken another step with how tightly packaged the sidepods and engine cover are. To get to this is not just a shrink-wrapping exercise but requires a huge amount of redesign and simulation to make it work,” continued Mike Elliott.

One striking difference on the 2022 cars will be new 18-inch wheels, replacing the previous 13-inch rims. Their impact on racing remains to be seen but the early signs are positive.

“What we have seen in testing, particularly the Abu Dhabi test at the end of 2021, is that there are subtle differences. It is going to change what we want to do with set-up, but it is a step in the right direction as I think the tyre will help improve the racing, won’t overheat as much and will be easier to manage,” noted Mike Elliott.

Another crucial element the engineers have had to contend with in the development of the 2022 car is the freezing of certain components which are now locked in for several years, including the gearbox and Power Unit. The stakes for getting both components as strong as can be, while maintaining reliability, have rarely been higher.

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  Article Image gallery (16) Specifications