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Mercedes looking into 'interesting' Red Bull design concept

Mercedes say the team back at their Brackley factory will be looking into Red Bull's new sidepod design, which caught the eye during the first week of testing.

RB18 inlets sidepods Verstappen
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes Technical Director Mike Elliott says his team are looking closely at the "interesting" design concept of the aggressive new sidepods on Red Bull's 2022 car.

Red Bull surprised plenty in the Formula 1 paddock in Barcelona when they took to the track in a car very different to the one revealed to fans during their car launch.

The RB18, designed to meet the sport's overhauled technical regulations, was armed with plenty of fresh innovations, including a pair of heavily sculpted sidepods that were notably missing a chunk of lower bodywork.

The design is thought to allow the car to feed more air down to their floor in a bid to claw back some of the downforce taken away under the rules reset. And it certainly caught the eye of aerodynamicists across the paddock, including those at Mercedes.

"It looks interesting," said Elliott, speaking to F1 TV. "We'll go away and have a think about that."

When asked if Mercedes have been looking at other cars and their technical ideas, Elliott added: "The guys back at the factory have been doing that."

Why teams have adopted such different sidepod designs

The new regulations have seen almost every team head down contrasting routes in the quest to preserve downforce, especially when it comes to their sidepods.

Mercedes ran with a design most visually similar to that of Red Bull's, both built with square, narrow air intakes, while the majority of other teams, including Ferrari, ran with wider, rounded air intakes.

"In terms of what is happening with these regulations, we have completely changed the way that you are managing the wheel wake, done to try and make it better for overtaking. That way we couldn't over optimise and control the tyre flow to then break down behind for another car," Elliott explained.

"Different teams have taken different approaches to that. Some teams have gone for big wide bodyworks, trying to control the tyre wake that way, and we've gone for a narrower solution and have packaged the car to be able to do that.

"The reality is, the cars will evolve a lot between now and race one and you'll see different solutions come along."

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