At long last, Mercedes have unveiled their new sidepod design, with the revolutionary ‘zero-sidepods’ having been scrapped for a more traditional design.
Following the cancellation of last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Mercedes opted to introduce their new concept this weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix rather than in Barcelona next week, a decision which left many confused.
Given the uniqueness of the Circuit de Monaco and how little can be learnt at the tight and twisty street track, many saw the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has an ideal place to introduce the new design, given that the venue used to host pre-season testing.
Many have questioned, though, if the Silver Arrows have seen something promising in the data, resulting in them introducing the new concept this weekend.
One of the main features of the new concept is, of course, new sidepods, which journalists were quick to catch a glimpse of.
Mercedes have returned to a more traditional rounded design, with the incredibly knowledgeable Bryson Sullivan having delved into the new shape on Twitter.
“The new sidepod is significantly wider than before and with a rounded inlet, but retains the aerodynamic fairing for the upper side impact structure (SIS) that was a persistent feature in the old zeropod design,” Sullivan wrote on Twitter.
“The new design also keeps the vertical strake that hangs below the SIS wing, although it appears to have a deeper chord giving a larger overall area and lower aspect ratio.”
Sullivan also pondered whether Mercedes have taken inspiration from customer outfit Aston Martin, who announced on Wednesday that they’d be switching to Honda power units in 2026.
Should Mercedes have used the Silverstone-based team as inspiration, then perhaps that’s not actually a bad thing, given that Aston Martin are currently second in the Constructors’ Championship.
With the AMR23 being so similar to the W14 underneath the chassis, using Aston Martin’s sidepod design could be a stroke of genius by Mercedes.
Aston Martin have claimed four podiums this year compared to Mercedes’ one, highlighting who’s had the stronger car in 2023.
Realistically, Mercedes won’t discover if the new sidepod design is a success until next weekend in Spain, with Barcelona being a more conventional circuit.