Mercedes has turned some heads on the second day of testing in Barcelona as the W08 is now running with a double T-wing.
When Mercedes launched the W08 the T-wing (the tall, spindly bit just in front of the rear wing) was one of the talking points. It looks like it’s here to stay though as other teams have their own version of it – Ferrari, Williams and Haas all tested them out on the first day of testing in Barcelona. Mercedes have ramped things up on day two though with a two-element version of the T-wing.
The 2017 regulations have fewer restrictions on what the engineers can do with the aero in the middle of the car. While many teams have gone down the shark fin route Mercedes (who have tested a shark fin but generally run without it) seem to be more focused on the T-wing, which is designed to try and give the cars even more downforce.
It’s cool that engineers are experimenting with the new rules to extract the most efficient solution they can – after all, that’s what F1 is about – but there is a worry that the design of T-wings could escalate rapidly if it works. And if it works on the Mercedes you can bet that it won’t be long before other teams start to copy it.
There’s also the safety element to consider. Some of the wings have been flexing quite a bit at speed and if the FIA feel like they could be a risk they could move to ban them. For now they’re legal though, and it’ll be interesting to see how the idea progresses.