Toto Wolff reacts to Christian Horner’s 2023 copying concern

Mercedes have reportedly decided to keep their questionable 'zero sidepod' design for 2023.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has seemingly revealed that the Germans aren’t going to copy Red Bull’s successful 2022 design for 2023, with the Silver Arrows having kept the same shape from their W13 challenger.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner is expecting to see many teams use their design philosophy for 2023, with the Austrians having claimed 17 wins whilst also having been able to eradicate porpoising very quickly last year.

Mercedes aren’t set to be one of them, though, with Horner admitting that “a few more cars” will look like their own this year.

“It’s tough because it is a handicap. But I think what you’ll see in ’23 is that the cars do converge, and I’m sure there’s a few more cars that will look a bit like a Red Bull or a Ferrari,” Horner told Channel 4.

READ: Max Verstappen opens up on long-term Red Bull contract amid criticism

Horner’s concerns about Mercedes copying them were likely raised following comments made by the Germans head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin, who admitted that Red Bull’s 2022 challenger was the “best concept”

The Silver Arrows have at least opted to go their own way with what’s underneath the W14, with Shovlin having admitted that the Brackley-based team were “still exploring different concepts” towards the end of last year.

“I think the rules do change for next year, that’s going to change how people are looking at developing their car,” Shovlin said.

“You’d always say that the fastest car is the one that’s got the best concept, so, you know, today that’s going to be Red Bull. Where that goes into next year it’s difficult to say. Certainly we, as a team, have not fixed what our car is going to look like. We’re still exploring different concepts.”

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Mercedes’ 2023 competitor is clearly starting to take shape, with Wolff having admitted that their new car is “full of surprises”.

The Germans will be hungry to return to the front this year and are likely to pull out all the stops to do so, with Mercedes wanting their Constructors’ Championship trophy back.

READ: Fernando Alonso bullish on Aston Martin

“It’s full of surprises,” revealed Wolff.

“The last time I saw it I thought ‘oh this looks the same [as the W13]’ but here’s hoping it’s not the same. I’m pretty much like you, I go into the wind tunnel and it looks like this year’s car but they say to me it’s very different underneath.

“It’s about the airflow, it’s about the weight distribution, it’s about the aero map. Our car fundamentally changed mid-year. We changed the concept but we couldn’t see anything on the bodywork.”