Mercedes deny Red Bull copying strategy

Mercedes’ approach to the new era of F1 has seen them fall behind their rivals in the title battle.

When the regulations underwent a major overhaul ahead of last season, teams were forced to decipher the new rules and try to find the best possible design for their car.

The sidepods were a major point of difference, with many different approaches to this part of the car being seen up and down the paddock.

Red Bull went for a detailed approach, which helped them to storm to both championships with clearly the best technically designed car on the grid, while Ferrari were also competitive with their large and gullied sidepods.

Mercedes went for a completely different approach last year, adopting a zero sidepod design which was not as effective as they would have hoped, only helping the W13 to a third-place finish in the constructors’ championship.

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The Silver Arrows have stuck with this design going into the 2023 season but with the team struggling once again in pre-season, team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that the W14’s sidepod design will change in the near future.

“The sidepods will change – not soon, but we are looking at solutions,” he told Sky Sports F1.

Technical director Mike Elliott has also confirmed that the sidepod design will change, but has stated that Mercedes will not be looking to copy one of their rival’s successful designs.

“There’s bodywork coming and it will look different,” he said.

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“It won’t look like someone else’s [car], it will look like an evolution of ours. That’s on its way.”

When asked whether Mercedes would look to follow Red Bull’s aggressive and detailed sidepod approach, Elliott simply said “That’s not in our current plans.”

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Mercedes appear to have left their porpoising problems in 2022 which will come as music to the ears of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, but not every issue from last year has been solved.

Russell experienced a hydraulic failure in pre-season and the W14 generally struggled with balance problems, leaving the car someway short of being on the level of Red Bull and Ferrari.

The Silver Arrows have hinted that it could take until F1 returns to Europe for the W14 to be competitive enough to win races, with upgrades already in the works for the near future.