Formula 1’s defending World Champions, Mercedes AMG Petronas, have spent the first day of pre-season testing trialing the ‘shark fin’, an aerodynamic device which has returned to all cars in 2017.
The ‘shark-fin’ was run by the team during the afternoon, when Lewis Hamilton took over driving duties from Valtteri Bottas.
The device, which hasn’t be run on cars since 2008, is positioned on the top edge of the engine confinements and is supposed to divert turbulent airflow away from the rear wing, aiding in cornering.
When Mercedes officially revealed the W08 at Silverstone on the 23rd of February, their car lacked a ‘shark-fin.’ As it turned out, Mercedes were the only team on the grid not to include the device at launch.
The new fins have already attracted criticism, as some pundits and fans view them as highly unaesthetic. Most notably, Red Bull’s Team Principal, Christian Horner, told SkySports, “I think the cars look fantastic, the only thing that lets them down is the shark fins.”
Motorsport.com reports Horner even tried to have the device banned purely on aesthetic grounds last year, but all other teams reportedly rejected the proposal.
So far, however, the devices look to remain legal as they haven’t given any team a clear major advantage, such as the double-diffusor did in 2009.