Mercedes W07 Hybrid, the absolute ruler of the 2016 season



The Mercedes W07 Hybrid can be defined as the definitive evolution of the W05 Hybrid, characterized by a complete synergy between mechanical and aerodynamic components. In fact, the single-seater sees a concentration of novelties in all its parts, peculiarities that on the previous W06 Hybrid had not been able to be noticed.


The front of the car is the one that undergoes the least changes, although at the beginning of the world championship the nose is modified twice, to better accommodate the S-Duct. The flow deviators are also remodeled, to better direct the air flows under the car, in the central area, where the wooden step is located.


In addition, to improve the flow of air in the lower part of the car, there are also new side deflectors.


The air intake located above the rider's head has been increased, and has an ovoid appearance, divided into several zones. The support between the cockpit and the air scope is also modified, now curved and not straight as in the previous season. As for the lateral flow deviators, and those above the bellies, the Stuttgart car manufacturer inserts a bridge in the central and internal part, improving the quality of the flow arriving first on the sides, and then, in the rear part. of the car.


Mercedes also worked a lot on the arrangement of the radiators inside the bellies and the engine hood; in fact, it can be seen that the W07 now also closes inwards in the lower part, to try to free much of the central area of ​​the bottom below the gearbox. All this is done to maximize the air flow in the central part of the diffuser, which is essential for the correct generation of aerodynamic load at the rear.


A concentrate of novelties at the rear


However, the most obvious changes can be seen in the rear part of the car: the sides have a different design, and a flared solution is adopted during the season. In addition, the hood has been streamlined, thus presenting smaller dimensions and optimizing aerodynamic flows.




Above the bonnet changes are made in the part of the fin, a useful component to stabilize the flow directed towards the rear wing, which is now less accentuated, to which slits are also added, for better management of temperatures, a heel of achille since 2014 for the Brackley stable.


There are three exhaust manifolds, two of which are dedicated to the expulsion of exhaust gases from the wastegate valve.


Updates, the key to a dominated season up to Abu Dhabi


The Stuttgart car manufacturer, despite the clear superiority shown by the W07 Hybrid, in any case leads a considerable development path during the season, and on the occasion of the Canadian Grand Prix, numerous improvements are made, among which new turning vanes under the chassis, and modifications to the front wing, to improve the flow of air to the outside of the car's wheels, as well as a new rear wing to allow top speeds in excess of 350 kilometers per hour.



The Anglo-German team introduced a new evolutionary package during the weekend of the Singapore Grand Prix, consisting of a third hydraulic element of the suspension, housed transversely in the bulkhead of the upper frame, while Marina Bay being a city circuit, the brake discs are revised, sporting a concave surface, useful for dissipating heat efficiently, while maintaining constant tire temperatures.


A one-way season


The 2016 season begins with relative anxiety, as Scuderia Ferrari is seen as Mercedes' main opponent, having spent 2015 as a year of transition. Instead, after the acute in the inaugural stage in Australia, in which the Scuderia di Maranello really seemed to have the credentials to oppose the Stuttgart car manufacturer, serious set-up problems appear, a too narrow range of tire use, and big reliability problems concerning the power unit.


All these factors together pave the way for Mercedes for the third consecutive constructors 'world title, obtaining nineteen wins and twenty podiums out of twenty-one races on the calendar, while the German Nico Rosberg wins the drivers' title at the last round of the season.



As previously described, Mercedes trembles in Australia, but Ferrari, following reliability problems with Kimi Raikkonen, and an unfortunate strategy by Sebastian Vettel, gives the Brackley team the first double of the season led by Nico Rosberg, who continues the streak. winning started on the final of the previous season.


In Barhain, Kimi Raikkonen takes his place between the two silver arrows, after Sebastian Vettel had to forfeit since the reconnaissance lap due to problems with the power unit. Rosberg still managed to get the better of the Finn, bringing the streak of positive results to five wins.


In the Chinese Grand Prix, the German's unstoppable ride continues, while Lewis Hamilton suffers his first setback of the season. In fact, during qualifying, the English driver was forced to return to the pits due to obvious problems with the ERS unit, thus compromising the race on Sunday, in which he did not go beyond a miserable seventh position.


In Russia, Nico Rosberg is unstoppable, and the epilogue follows the plot of the first round of the season in Melbourne.


The defeat of the Anglo-German army


Nico Rosberg’s continuous winning streak greatly irritates Lewis Hamilton, as the former is finally fighting for the world title, while the latter feels abandoned in his own garage.


During the Spanish Grand Prix, therefore, the first major clash of the season between the two standard bearers of the silver arrows takes place. In qualifying the Englishman managed to assert himself, conquering pole position, but at the start he was overtaken by his teammate. The Englishman is not there, and at the Repsol corner, he tries a surprise overtaking on Nico Rosberg, who closes badly inside pushing his teammate on the grass, consequently creating a hook effect that brings both Mercedes drivers to the first. seasonal retirement, and the first double retirement in the history of Mercedes, after returning to Formula One in 2010.


The accident, however, hides a particular background, in fact, many insiders wonder why Nico Rosberg had not accelerated properly out of turn 3, allowing Lewis Hamilton to get close in a short time. In reality, Mercedes, and not only, uses a particular starting mapping, which if not deactivated limits the speed out of the corners: the German seems to have kept this option active.


On the streets of the Principality, Daniel Ricciardo takes pole, but Nico Rosberg is in second position, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The race, however, is anything but rosy for the German, who accuses some problems with the power unit that slow him down, relegating him to seventh position. His teammate, on the other hand, after having fortunately inherited second place, takes advantage of an unforgivable mistake in the Red Bull pits during Daniel Ricciardo's stop, thus winning his first win of the season.



The plot of the Canadian Grand Prix for Nico Rosberg is the same, with the only difference that it is not technical problems that slow him down, but a puncture in the tire on lap 57, which relegates him to fifth position, while his teammate celebrates the second consecutive victory of the season.


In the European Grand Prix, based on the brand new and fast city track of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, Lewis Hamilton hits a wall in the old part of the city during the third qualifying heat, breaking the suspension arms.


A mistake that cost him the tenth place on the starting grid, while his teammate is positioned in the front row. The race for the Englishman is all uphill, as Nico Rosberg sails calmly towards a victory that was missing from the Russian Grand Prix.


The Austrian Grand Prix is ​​the scene of the second clash between the two Mercedes drivers. In fact, after both starting from the front row, Lewis Hamilton, in second position, on the last lap tries to overtake the Remus corner against his teammate, who defends himself too aggressively, making contact. The German driver was the worst, damaging the front wing and also being overtaken by Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel, while Lewis Hamilton won the race.



Nico Rosberg makes a comeback by ringing three consecutive victories in the Grand Prix of Spa, Monza and Singapore, extending considerably in the standings.


The world championship is now winding down, and the Malaysian Grand Prix is ​​an important stage for the final time of the world championship. Both Mercedes drivers start from the front row, with Lewis Hamilton poleman on Saturday. At the start, however, Sebastian Vettel comes into contact with Nico Rosberg, who punctures a tire and is forced to a pit stop. An unexpected event that cuts him out for the win and that would put Lewis Hamilton back in the fight for the title.


But taking advantage of the Safety Car, Nico Rosberg manages to follow the group, ready to recover the points. At the forty-first lap there is another twist, if it can be defined as such: Lewis Hamilton is forced to retire due to problems with the power unit.



Race direction displays yet another Safety Car of the day, thus allowing Nico Rosberg, author of one of the most beautiful races of his career, to recover from the penultimate to the third position, getting closer and closer to the much-desired world title.


In Japan Nico Rosberg wins again, thus putting Lewis Hamilton on the spot. In fact, now the Englishman not only has to win all the remaining four races, but he has to hope that team mate doesn't finish second on at least one occasion. The Englishman wins the next three races, but Nico finishes second on all three occasions, leaving no hope for Lewis Hamilton.


In the last round of the season, Lewis Hamilton tries in every way to slow down his teammate, trying to get him overtaken by Sebastian Vettel, but this does not happen and Nico Rosberg wins his first world title, equalling his father Keke, World Champion way back in 1982.


Meanwhile, Mercedes won the constructors' title with the record figure of 765 world championship points, closing the first regulatory cycle of the turbo hybrid era as the undisputed queen, given that from the following year there will be a new regulation aimed at implementing the aerodynamic look of the cars, considered too slow in recent seasons.


Andrea Rasponi

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