Mercedes downplays radical Mercedes change

Despite Mercedes’ struggles with the concept, Red Bull appears to have smoothly incorporated it into their new design.

Toto Wolff has played down the importance of Mercedes abandoning their distinctive ‘no sidepods’ car design from the previous season, particularly with Red Bull adopting a somewhat similar design for their 2024 vehicle.

“There are a few things they took over from our car,” the Mercedes team principal admitted to Austrian broadcaster ORF.

“Not only the sidepods, but of course we also had our engine cover – we called it ‘The Great Wall’ at the time. It may not be aesthetically pleasing, but the solution makes sense,” Wolff explained.

Despite Mercedes’ struggles with the concept, Red Bull appears to have smoothly incorporated it into their new design.

READ: Lewis Hamilton breaks silence on 2024 Red Bull F1 car

“The real performance comes from the floor,” Wolff stressed. “These are ground effect cars, and they (Red Bull) have been very strong in that area in recent years, and there will probably have been further development in that area.

“I just didn’t expect such a radical change with the bodywork.

It was a brave step because if they had been conservative, they would have further developed a really good car.

“The data will always guide your development, and the data will likely have shown that these new developments come with significantly more downforce.

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Otherwise Red Bull wouldn’t have done it,” Wolff stated.

Ivan Capelli, a former Formula 1 driver, praises Adrian Newey’s innovative approach to the 2024 Red Bull design.

“Newey has turned the Red Bull upside down, surprising everyone,” he shared with Sky Italia.

“He has suddenly made all the other cars age.”

With Max Verstappen at the helm, Red Bull is poised for continued dominance in Formula 1, starting with the upcoming race in Bahrain.

“He is the example for every driver,” Capelli observed. “Last year he only made one mistake and that was a spin in practice in the United States.

That shows how high he has set the bar, a bit like Senna and Schumacher did in their day.

“It’s almost impossible for him to lose that form now.”

READ: Toto Wolff admits Mercedes considering Italian driver as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement

Regarding Mercedes’ 2024 contender, which aligns more closely with Red Bull’s previous designs, it seems to slightly lag behind the new Ferrari model.

“Ferrari has really taken a step,” former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde commented on the DRS De Race Show podcast. “They had little tyre degradation in the test, after having so much trouble with that last year.

“Max will win the race, but behind him I expect a nice battle between Ferrari and (Sergio) Perez.”