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Why Mercedes retained skinny sidepod concept for 2023

Toto Wolff has defended Mercedes' decision to retain their 'zero sidepod' design concept for 2023, and has given clues about their design direction going forward.

Toto Wolff has backed Mercedes' decision to persist with their unique 'zero sidepod' solution for the W14, insisting that it caused no issues in 2022. In the launch of their 2023 F1 car, Mercedes released images of a car which appeared to evolve from the troublesome W13. Like the 2022 car, it features extremely narrow sidepods, albeit with a reprofiled engine cover, and Mercedes Team Principal Wolff defended the lack of 'revolution' in Mercedes' 2023 car design. "I think it's important to be bold in this sport, and I'm still proud of the solutions that were put on the car last year," Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.com . "Our sidepod design is not something that we believe was fundamentally the reason why we didn't perform."

Wolff: Mercedes sidepods will change

Despite his staunch defence of their aerodynamic choices, Wolff conceded that Mercedes remain open to the idea of moving in a different design direction. The Mercedes team boss revealed that the team will likely target the sidepods as an area for evolution in the opening months of the new season. "There are no holy cows in our concept. It's not that we don't want to follow anybody [else's] ideas. We kept staying with the narrow sidepod as it is, but you could well see some development from now on," Wolff added. "That could be coming with the upgrades, and the sidepods will change, not very soon, but we are looking at solutions. But it's not a core fundamental performance part. "This is the first [car] iteration, and when we're going through the first few races, that's going to change a little bit. "Like [Technical Director] Mike [Elliott] said in the launch, if you want to change a concept completely, then you're making not one step back, but probably two or three, and that's why we stayed where we are."

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