Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin has detailed key performance factors teams must evaluate when opting for different design paths.
The Silver Arrows dropped its flawed zero sidepod concept at the Monaco Grand Prix in favour of a more conventional design, but this was something of a stop-gap for the W14 - with broader changes set for the 2024 W15 machine.
The trend of concepts have gravitated towards the Red Bull style of downwash sidepods as opposed to the 'bathtub' ones pioneered by Ferrari and the zero sidepods Mercedes stuck with despite a poor 2022.
Shovlin detailed a key link between the sidepods and the floor as Mercedes continues to try and reel Red Bull in and regain its championship titles.
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Mercedes explains concept changes
"We view it as a bit more complicated than just what do the sidepods look like," Trackside Engineering Director Shovlin told media including RacingNews365.
"What the sidepods look like interacts very heavily with what's going on with the floor, and the floor is the thing that's generating most of the downforce.
"So, you use the word like we're going down a different [path], or exploring a different concept, but, generally, that, for the teams, will mean that there are changes right underneath the car and it's about putting the bits together above that are going to be conditioning the airflow.
"That is one element, but then the other thing, with a new set of regulations, is working out where you want to target the downforce.
"Where are you wanting to chase in terms of efficiency or drag levels? And a lot of the work we do when we're talking about going off on a different development route, is actually saying: 'Where do we think the real value is?'
"When your resources are so limited [by the cost cap], you need to be very careful about where you're searching for performance, because it's got to be fruitful, because you've got so little windtunnel time, the cost cap is making things difficult.
"You don't want to be exploring [for potential upgrades] in barren lands [that won't yield performance] basically."