Mercedes to push ahead with zero sidepod concept despite concerns

Mercedes have been tipped to “soldier on” with their zero sidepod concept after their major upgrade package, set to be unveiled in Monaco.

Former Formula 1 team manager Peter Windsor believes that Mercedes will “soldier on” with the team’s zero sidepod concept that has seen it follow a different design direction to its rivals.

With the Mercedes lacking the pace of its rivals, the team is bringing a slate of upgrades at the next race in Monaco, aimed at tackling its aerodynamic flaws.

However, while there will be modifications to its sidepod, Mercedes is expected to continue using the overall zero sidepod concept despite the design only delivering one victory in 2022.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have raised concerns about the W14’s design and team principal Toto Wolff has accepted that Mercedes was following the wrong development path, demanding substantial upgrades.

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Mercedes technical chief James Allison was brought back to the team to help with shaping the redesigned car, as the team bids to make a comeback this season.

The Silver Arrows had planned to unveil their new car at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix but the roll out has been pushed back to the Monaco Grand Prix after Imola was cancelled amid deadly flooding.

Speaking on his YouTube stream, Windsor rejected suggestions that Mercedes could be moving to a sidepod design that is more similar to other teams on the grid.

“If you’re hoping it’ll suddenly make it as quick as a Red Bull, I think you’ll be pretty let down,” Windsor said.

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“If you’re looking for something that might give them a little bit more consistency – a larger sweet spot [or] operating window as they call it – maybe it’ll do that.

“It was interesting to read what they’re saying about the upgrades, which is basically: ‘This is the start of a new path which we believe, long term, will take us back to the front and winning races.’

“So the implication is they’ve made their decision on where they’re going to go with the car and this is the first step in going in that direction.

“Whether they’re going to get away from the whole zero-pod thing and this is the first step towards going towards a conventional car remains to be seen.

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“But my bet is that they are still going to soldier on with this car but obviously make some changes based on better correlation between modelling, CFD and wind tunnel testing now that they’ve got a little bit more testing time, not being the World Champions last winter, and that correlation is going to be important in terms of the next step.”

In 2023, Red Bull has been dominant, building up a 122 point lead over its nearest rival, Aston Martin, by taking every victory of the season so far.

Mercedes finds itself stuck back in P3, having only managed to secure one podium finish in Australia.