When it comes to F1, the king of has always been the aerodynamics. This is where suspension systems are often compromised but it does not mean that the engineers are not giving enough to the concept and design of the systems. There is though the undeniable fact that a compromise always exist between the suspension system’s mechanical aspect and the impact of the aerodynamics of a vehicle.
Mercedes was able to make a breakthrough back in 2017 when they decided to front upper wishbone to the wheel hub’s extension. With this, it puts it at the top of the airflow which leads to the radiators as well as the barge boards. The same feature is employed by the Toro Rosso and the concept was also followed by the Sauber and Williams. On the other hand, the new W09 vehicle of Mercedes decided to step things up be using the same concept and this time it was installed in the rear suspension.
An extension made of titanium was connected from the wheel hub at the rear to bridge with the upper wishbone’s outboard end. This resulted into a better height that is located a good distance from the wheel hub’s top. This makes it possible for the airflow that is being transported from the side pods going to the critical gap to have a clearer path compared to a conventional setup. The extension of the wheel hub was camouflaged well by the sheath made of carbon fiber material. The same part is placed on the rear part.
Do not misunderstand the gap that you see separating the rear tyre’s inner edge from the diffuser’s exterior wall because it is highly effective in terms of aerodynamics. The flow on the underfloor is higher when the air introduced into the gap is at a faster rate. These two will then combine after it has passed the diffuser. With the decision of Mercedes to place the upper wishbone at a greater height makes a bigger path for the airflow.
This is why this is considered as a breakthrough in suspension systems because when looking at an aerodynamics perspective, its layout works perfectly with the geometry of the sidepod.