Mercedes ‘surprised’ that no other team has found an F1 2022 concept gap

After a major overhaul of Formula 1 aerodynamic regulations, Mercedes shocked the paddock by going entirely its own route and introducing a ‘zero sidepod’ solution, very different from Red Bull and Ferrari designs

Mercedes endured a difficult season with their ailing W13 challenger, winning just one race while slipping to third place F1 Constructors Championship after an unprecedented streak of eight consecutive world titles

speaking in a recent interview with Auto Motor and SportMike Elliott, Mercedes Technical Director, was asked if the team was surprised they were the only ones favoring their sidepod concept

„Not really,“ said Elliott. “We were surprised that nobody else found this loophole. Once you’ve gone that route, it’s very difficult to copy anything else.”

While Mercedes’ solution to the championship’s new regulations didn’t work, the team continued to believe in its unique sidepods.

At the end of last season, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff hinted that the car’s ‘DNA’ could change for 2023, but stressed that ‘that doesn’t necessarily mean the bodywork will look completely different’.

However, the latest reports indicate that Mercedes is moving towards a middle ground between its sidepod concept and the philosophy inherited from Red Bull for the W14

“We only have a partial view of things,†Elliott said. “We only see what our car is doing. It is difficult to judge how the other concepts will react.

“We tried to understand the issues and to be able to predict the performance differences from track to track

“It has nothing to do with the shape of the sidepods, but more to do with how we designed the car and what our goals were.”

The performance of the W13 was severely hampered by extremes porpoises and bounce in the early stages of 2022, but Mercedes are confident they have found a solution to avoid a repeat of the problems next season

“Earlier in the season, like everyone else, we had to deal with aerodynamically generated impact,” said Elliott. ‘That hid the car’s real problems.

“With our upgrade in Barcelona we eliminated most of the aerodynamic impact. The bouncing that was still present at the end was caused by bumps. It is inherent in these cars that stand just above the road.

“In the beginning we couldn’t explain why things always looked different from track to track. Later, our predictions became more accurate. Our simulations gave us a pretty accurate indication of which track would be good or bad for us.

“We also now have a good theory as to what we need to do to prevent this from happening again next season. That gives us confidence for the winter. But unfortunately in Formula 1 you never know everything.”

Lewis Hamilton will aim to bounce back from its statistically worst F1 season by winning a record-breaking eighth world title as a teammate in 2023 George Russell is looking for his first


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