The development war
Mercedes and Ferrari waged an intense development war throughout the 2018 season. Giorgio Piola was there to capture every major development as they appeared
Mercedes was the only team to raise the pick-up point of its rear upper wishbone in 2018, a move that improves both the downforce level of the car and the consistency with which it is delivered. Mercedes has gone for a more-inboard and higher pick-up point. The pullrod pick-up appears to be just below the wishbone pick-up, allowing better system stiffness without adding weight. This allowed Mercedes to move the lower wishbone higher and away from the diffuser upper surface, creating better airflow over the top of the diffuser. This, in turn, helps to get more airflow out of the diffuser itself and improves overall underfloor performance. More importantly, it removes the blockage of the outboard end of the wishbone and moves the pullrod inboard and upward that little bit, allowing Mercedes space to use rear brake ducts with more turning vanes. These improve the performance of the outboard area of the diffuser and also produce downforce in their own right. This load goes directly onto the tyre contact patch, so there is no time lag in the grip this produces as the suspension moves up and down over kerbs and bumps. Also, under braking, when the rear of the car starts to rise and semi-unloads the rear contact patch, this load, directly onto the wheel and tyre, is more consistent and improves the reliability of the rear grip and corner entry.