Low rakes are turning out to be an enormous setback for Mercedes this season. The German automobile giants feel the new 2021 regulations have hit the low rake cars more than its high rake competitors. Yet, they have a proper remedy to their issue, says their trackside chief.
Mercedes’s new W12 that uses low rake, is suffering almost a second more time than the high rake cars like Red Bull’s RB16B making their cars the fastest. The reigning champions’ trackside engineering chief Andrew Shovlin believes it would take a long time to shift from low rake to high rake. By that time, Shovlin fears the 2021 Formula One championship will be over for them.
The 47-year-old British engineer conveyed, “Whether or not it’s high-rake or low-rake, we can’t do anything about that now. What we certainly can’t do is suddenly say we’re going to lift the rear of our car 30mm and work with that, because that would write off the season. We would lose so much in doing that – to recover it, it’s just not practical.”
Despite the disadvantages with Mercedes’s W12, the team management feels they can overcome and retain their championship. One such example is the recently concluded Bahrain Grand Prix where two Mercedes-powered cars were in the podium.
It's been ONE WEEK since W12 hit the track for the first time 😍🤩 pic.twitter.com/ynkZ36pDgq
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 19, 2021
Shovlin further asserted about the W12, “We’ve got a car that could win a championship if we make some clever decisions with it, do some good work with it and operate well over the year.”
What is a rake in F1? How does it affect Mercedes in 2021?
The rake in Formula One refers to the altitude of a car created by raising the rear ride height in accordance to the front ride height. This is done by effectively setting the car up with an upward sloping front to rear.
The FIA introduced a series of aero changes, involving the floor ahead of the rear wheels, in order to trim down force levels of the cars. It takes immense efforts and engineering excellence to shift the rake in the course of the ongoing season which is not practical.
The Silver Arrow’s prime competitor, Red Bull are having an advantage with the new rule as they’re using high rake cars. However, Mercedes are reluctant to change their rakes soon. Will that affect their place in the championship? Shovlin doesn’t think so.
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