Mercedes technical director James Allison explained in detail why last year’s Mercedes F1 W11 was so good on all tracks and how they improved the already good F1 W10. After winning its sixth consecutive double title in 2019, Mercedes opted for a risky approach with a new car for 2020 to try to maintain a technological advantage over ever-closer rivals, and the car was significantly different from its predecessor in three important areas.
It is a front suspension, with a controversial DAS system, side safety structures modeled on Ferrari with highly placed radiator grilles, and a rear suspension with radically positioned components for aerodynamic advantage and more stability.
The result was a car that was aerodynamically more efficient than its predecessor, better in qualifying, and even better in slow corners, although they kept the longest wheelbase, identical since 2017. “More downforce, more power, a little better balance between the speed in one lap and speed in the race,” Allison commented on the key advantages of this year’s Mercedes over its predecessor for Auto Motor und Sport.
“The 2019 car was a great racing car, but it was a bit harder to bring it to pole position [seven races without pole positions between Germany and the US]. There are reasons for that. Also, it was difficult to make the front end sharp enough.
” "We started work on the new rear suspension in January 2019. We had a good idea of the torsional strength and characteristics of the new chassis, but when you change the position of the link on the wheel carrier, you also change the steering characteristics of the rear axle under load."
“The old car  had an effect that destabilized the rear end because such a setup changed the toe angle under load. The new position of the link reduced this effect and stabilized the rear end, and the drivers confirmed in tests that they felt that the behavior of the rear end was significantly better.
Allison did not want to reveal whether the mechanical or aerodynamic side of the car benefited more from the rear suspension configuration change. “I can’t tell you exactly how much we got in terms of aerodynamics, but enough to justify a new crash test.
With the new position of the lower cross arm, which is now connected to the safety structure behind the gearbox, we had to do a new crash test. ” “In order to meet the rules, the test results had to be absolutely perfect.
It took us a few tries. Structurally, this was a difficult task because the transverse shoulders were connected to a part of the transmission that was not very strong. So we had to strengthen the gearbox structure. But it paid off and solved the management problems. ”