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Mercedes to revise zero sidepod design in 2023 F1 season



Mercedes sidepod 2023 F1

During the 2023 Formula 1 season, Mercedes is likely to make adjustments to its ‘zero sidepod’ design, as suggested by Toto Wolff.

Despite the team’s belief that the particular component was not essential for optimal performance, Wolff affirmed that Mercedes’ decision was not due to a lack of confidence in their design philosophy.

Throughout the 2022 season, Mercedes’ eye-catching design which was unveiled during the second pre-season test in Bahrain garnered much attention and analysis. However, despite not being able to keep up with the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari, Mercedes has consistently maintained that their struggles were not primarily caused by their innovative design concept.

When asked about the “bold solutions” implemented in Mercedes’ W14 during the team’s pre-season launch media events, Wolff expressed pride in their previous year’s car. However, he hinted that modifications to the sidepods’ appearance could potentially occur during the season as the team continues to develop their vehicle.

Wolff emphasized the significance of being daring in motorsports, stating, “I think it’s important to be bold in this sport.” He further explained that the team did not believe their narrow sidepod design was the primary cause of their underperformance.

Wolff clarified that Mercedes does not have any fixed ideas that they refuse to deviate from. The team is open to exploring and incorporating concepts from different sources, and they are not bound to any particular design philosophy.

Although Mercedes had retained the narrow sidepod design, Wolff hinted that the team is exploring the possibility of changing it with the upgrades that are planned for the car. While it may not happen immediately, he confirmed that they are considering alternative solutions and may introduce modified sidepods in the future.


Wolff reiterated that, in their assessment, the sidepods are not a critical performance element for the team, despite the potential changes they may make to the design.

It appears that there has already been a slight alteration to the sidepod design, as the vertical radiator inlets on the W14 have been modified to have a less steep angle and a more elongated curve.

The vehicle that was unveiled at the Mercedes launch event is the exact model that will undergo shakedown testing at Silverstone on Wednesday. Although it features some modifications, including revised sidepods, the car still has the same fundamental characteristics as the previous year’s W13 model.

When questioned about when Mercedes had made the decision to retain its design concept and the reasoning behind it, Wolff explained that the team had continuously evaluated the concept throughout the previous season. They conducted thorough analysis and debates to determine whether or not it was the right decision.


Wolff emphasized that the sidepods were notably distinct from those on other vehicles but reiterated that, in their opinion, this design element did not significantly impact performance.

Wolff characterized the current sidepod design as “the first iteration” and indicated that there will be some modifications made as they progress through the early stages of the racing season.

As Wolff explained, during the launch event, Mike Elliott, the technical director, had highlighted the challenges of changing a design concept entirely. Elliott had indicated that such a change could potentially set the team back by two or three steps, and thus Mercedes chose to retain their existing design with only modifications made.


“As mentioned by Mike Elliott during the launch, fully revamping our concept would require not just one but likely two or three steps back, which is why we have chosen to maintain our current approach.”

Wolff expressed his appreciation for Mercedes’ bold approach to design and its willingness to follow the scientific data, even when it goes against conventional thinking. He further emphasized that they would continue to adopt an innovative mindset moving forward.

“I appreciate our boldness and our commitment to following the scientific evidence, which we have consistently demonstrated and continue to uphold.”

Mercedes sidepod 2023 F1 Mercedes sidepod 2023 F1

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