Mercedes F1 2022 has unleashed a package of upgrades at the second pre-season Formula 1 test at Bahrain, with the W13 sporting radical vertical sidepod inlets.
On the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain, Mercedes revealed a radically updated version of their 2022 car with almost no sidepods.
the Mercedes F1 2022 W13 is significantly faster in the simulator than the previous version was during last month’s Barcelona test.
The sidepods cannot be eliminated entirely, given the need for the mandatory side impact structures and cooling inlets.
The W13 wore traditional inlets at the first three-day test in Barcelona, with chief F1 rival Red Bull surprising the paddock with its sleek design. But a fortnight later and its Mercedes F1 which has stolen the headlines.
The design allows for far greater airflow to the rear of the car, by minimising the width of the sidepods.
Other updates on the W13 include various wings behind the mirrors and an array of cooling vents to cope with the higher Bahrain temperatures.
But by packaging the cooling inboard and possibly a little higher in the car, Mercedes F1 has created the space for a tightly-clad sidepod that then quickly narrows.
Brawn calls Mercedes’ W13 ‘impressive’
Formula 1 motorsport director, Ross Brawn – who was the prime architect behind the radical overhaul to the technical regulations for this season – said that the Mercedes F1 ‘sidepod-less’ design was an “extreme” concept.
“I think there’s no doubt that the Mercedes F1 concept we didn’t anticipate,” said Brawn. “I think it’s a very extreme interpretation of the regulation and I think there’s inevitably going to be a lot of debate about their interpretation.
“That’s what happens with new regulations. However hard you try to close off all the options – and believe me we closed off hundreds of them – the innovation in Formula 1 is always extreme. So, from our perspective, it’s largely about does it affect the objectives of the regulations. From the teams’ perspective, they want to be sure that no one’s taking an interpretation that they don’t feel is correct. So I think there’s going to be a lot of debate in the next few days.”
“I think it’s impossible to anticipate the creative scope of the teams. Once they get the regulations, you’ve got 1,000 engineers working on all the regulations and how they can use them,” Brawn explained. “So some of these solutions quite honestly were never anticipated.
“I think we will go back into investigating those solutions and make sure that they maintain the objectives of the new rules. I think they do – our initial impressions are that there’s nothing here that we would be overly concerned about in terms of those objectives of the regulations.
“So it’s just fascinating to see such a wide range of solutions. What I think has become a step change for the teams is a lot of new cooler innovations, a lot of new innovation in the heat exchanges and the radiators that have become available and it’s given them more scope to create the designs we’ve got.”
Horner dismissed claims he had suggested the Mercedes F1 design did not confirm to the regulations. “I’m slightly surprised to be reading comments that I’m supposed to have been making,” he told Sky.
“To be honest with you I haven’t paid a great deal of attention to it. It was obviously a fairly different concept but that’s for the aero guys and the designers to get into.”
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