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Tech Talk: Mercedes's simple tyre wear solution
Sunday 15th September 2013, 19:35 by Ryan Wood
No more tyre issues? They certainly weren't evident in Italy (© Daimler)
Mercedes have found a relatively simple solution to its overheating tyre woes and it seems to have done the trick for the Brackley based outfit.
The W04 may not have encountered any issues during qualifying this season - its eight pole positions prove that - but come the race, they have struggled to keep their tyres within the optimum temperature range.
It was an issue which plagued them during the first few races of the season, with only Nico Rosberg's Monaco Grand Prix win a one-off thanks to the chosen compounds and the way in which he controlled the event.
Since the British GP, this particular problem of overheating tyres, which in turns causes them to wear much too quickly, has somewhat vanished.
The tyre construction was changed following several blowouts at Silverstone. This certainly helped, but a simple innovation which is used on modern heat-sinks seems to have gone a step further in solving the problem.
A photo taken by XPB's Russell Batchelor (below) in Italy reveals exactly what Mercedes have been doing to control the temperature of their fronts and rears.
The inner-side of the wheel rim is covered in small extrusions. This 'dimpled' effect creates more surface area to dissipate the heat generated by the tyre. Whilst it might only be by a small amount, it seems it's enough to ensure the tyres remain in the crucial 'optimum operating temperature window'.
According to former Williams chief engineer Mark Gillan, the design is incredibly complex to achieve and should offer a 25-30% improvement.
"This complex dimpled and scalloped pattern is not straightforward to manufacture and therefore indicates a lot of research and development has gone into developing this component and proving its benefit before committing to its manufacture," he told James Allen on F1, adding it should "give up to 25 to 30% thermal transfer improvements over the smooth surface variant" which is currently run by Mercedes' rivals.
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