Mercedes explains why the floor is the most important part of current F1 cars

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Ahead of Mercedes’ new floor upgrade, Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin says the floor in current F1 cars “is the thing that’s generating most of the downforce”.

At the United States Grand Prix, Mercedes will introduce a new floor for the W14, which Lewis Hamilton called “the biggest of the large updates through the season”.

The team’s Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin explains why the floor is the most significant part of current F1 cars.

“We view it as a bit more complicated than just what do the sidepods look like,” Shovlin said.

“What the sidepods look like interacts very heavily with what’s going on with the floor, and the floor is the thing that’s generating most of the downforce.

“So, you use the word like we’re going down a different [development path], or exploring a different concept, but generally, that, for the teams will mean that there are changes right underneath the car and it’s about putting the bits together above that are going to be conditioning the airflow.

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“That is one element, but then the other thing, with a new set of regulations, is working out where you want to target the downforce. Where are you wanting to chase in terms of efficiency or drag levels?

“And a lot of the work we do when we’re talking about going off on a different development route, is actually saying: ‘Where do we think the real value is?’

“When your resources are so limited [by the budget cap], you need to be very careful about where you’re searching for performance.

“Because it’s got to be fruitful, because you’ve got so little windtunnel time, the cost cap is making things difficult.

“You don’t want to be exploring in barren lands basically,” the Briton concluded.

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