As Formula 1 teams venture into the unknown to most efficiently achieve the highest levels of downforce for the 2017 Formula 1 season, world champion team Mercedes took the T-Wing concept — which is featuring on various 2017 cars again — to the next level.
Ferrari, Haas, Williams and Mercedes had run a single T-Wing during the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, with the aim of conditioning the airflow over the rear of the car. This aerodynamic device isn’t new to F1 teams, and the device was used previously in Formula One before being outlawed.
Red Bull Racing, who are theoretical title contenders for the 2017 Formula 1 season attempted to outlaw the device, which is being further researched by championship rivals Mercedes, as it appears to flex at high speed. Despite majority of the teams electing to not back Red Bull on the matter, there is a high probability FIA could outlaw the device on safety grounds closer to the season opening Australian Grand Prix.
The base idea of the T-Wing device is to condition the airflow to the rear of the car, and unlike the ongoing suspension row, is unlikely to create a protest should the device be outlawed, given the minor aerodynamic effect it has on the cars.
Mercedes have used the T-Wing concept and taken it to the next level. The team are running the device under various circumstances to evaluate whether it is of benefit to the team; the device is intended to yield further downforce. Further downforce will be generated by turning the airflow, which will help the efficiency of the rear wing; its unique angle, as compared to rivals single T-Wing means that if it is developed and executed in the correct manner, it could produce extra downforce.