Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg’s hopes of a step forward in form from Mercedes have been lifted with their team poised to race its new Coanda-effect exhausts at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The team tested a heavily revised exhaust layout on its W03 during last week’s young driver test at Magny-Cours, making use of the concept that has been put to good use by a number of teams this year including Ferrari, McLaren and Sauber.
The developments got plenty of mileage during the three days of testing in the hands of Sam Bird and Brendon Hartley, and team sources suggest the squad was hugely encouraged by the performance boost they brought to the car. Mercedes now plans to fit the new exhaust layout to both Schumacher and Rosberg’s cars in Friday practice in Singapore. If the testing proves successful, then the team will commit to racing it on the Marina Bay circuit, too.
Team principal Ross Brawn said last week that the benefits of the exhaust layout – which improves exhaust and airflow to the floor of the car – would be especially felt on the type of low-speed corners that are so common in Singapore.
"We think that’s quite significant in low-speed traction," he said about where the speed was improved with the Coanda exhausts. "The effect of the exhaust is more significant at lower speeds than higher speeds, and also brings you the balance perhaps you need for the rear tire."
Brawn admitted at the Italian GP that the team had perhaps focused too much recently on understanding tires, rather than bringing developments like the Coanda exhaust, which had meant it falling behind its rivals. Mercedes also tested a Lotus-style of double DRS during the Magny-Cours test, but this is unlikely to be raced for a little while. The team made significant progress with it last week and it could try it in some Friday practice sessions to perfect its setup before electing to race with it.
Although the W03 also appeared with a shark fin on the engine cover for the final day at Magny-Cours, this was not a performance development aimed to be raced this year but is instead part of an FIA-backed program to help improve driver identification for fans.
Info: Racer.com, Image: Mercedes GP