Mercedes has introduced a heavily updated car on the opening day of the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Ferrari impressed during the opening week of testing, with Mercedes openly admitting it believed it was behind the Scuderia after the first four days of running in Spain. Valtteri Bottas referenced the need for the team to introduce new parts to help with the balance — describing the W10 as “on a knife-edge” — and Tuesday in Barcelona saw a number of updates on the car.
A new front wing and nose takes Mercedes further down the concept with which it had launched, focusing on moving the airflow around the outside of the front tires. This is in contrast to Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, which have both gone for wings that are largest in the middle and taper down to the endplates in order to direct the airflow inside the tires toward the front edge of the floor and bargeboards.
There is also an updated floor and T-wing on the Mercedes as part of a major aerodynamic update, which was tested by Lewis Hamilton initially on Tuesday morning. Bottas took over the car for the afternoon session, but immediately stopped on track on his first lap after the lunch break.
It is not unusual for the front-running teams to bring significant packages to their cars towards the end of pre-season testing and ahead of the opening race in Australia, and the change in aerodynamic regulations is likely to lead to a steep development curve during the early part of the 2019 season.