Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Mercedes’ radical new ‘sidepod-less’ W13 design appears ahead of final test

2022 F1 season

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Mercedes have revealed a radical new development on their W13 ahead of the second pre-season test in Bahrain.

The team’s W13 appeared in the paddock at Bahrain International Circuit featuring revised, much slimmer sidepods.

Reports of a ‘sidepod-less’ W13 first emerged in Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra, which is believed to have been alerted to the design by one of Mercedes’ rivals.

The new car features tall, narrow cooling inlets in place of the square air intakes which appeared on the previous design.

Original Mercedes W13 in Spain

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

New Mercedes W13 in Bahrain

Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

More Bahrain Mercedes W13 pictures

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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170 comments on “Mercedes’ radical new ‘sidepod-less’ W13 design appears ahead of final test”

  1. Simply WOW! If true.

    1. Looks like the first haas cad shot, lol.

  2. It’s the stepchild of the Modena 291….

    1. @geemac that was my first thought! Aesthetically it’s not my cup of tea, but it’s great to see the cars looking different from one another, as they have done for so much of F1’s history. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the cars ‘homogenised’, and I’m sure they will again. But until everyone figures out who came up with the best approach and copy it, I’m going to try enjoy all the different shapes and styles.

      At least this looks very hard to copy, if Merc have got it right, I can’t see Ferrari or anyone else being able to go down this route mid-season.

      1. @bernasaurus
        Even next year that would prove to be extremely difficult if not impossible to copy since the design in question requires minimum cooling and all the PU components will be homologated by September 2022 and will be frozen for the next 3 years. Ferrari or RBR can copy the design next year but first they will have to fit their PU properly in the car and run it.

        They will face reliability issues in 2023 and ask for permission to modify their PUs for 2024. Let’s suppose they will be granted permission to alter their PU. In the meantime, Mercedes will not be sleeping and will be evolving and fine tuning their concept and having already a jump start they will still carry the advantage till 2025.

      2. same here. Not my cup Aesthetically.

        I love the Ferrari, and I really do hope they are back to the front of the grid.

        It will be a dream if Merc, RB, MCLaren. Ferrari and Williams are competitive, fighting for victories..and having some surprises in some races having Astons, Alpha Tauri and Alfa snatching some podiums.
        I do not have any hopes for Hass.

        1. At first when I heard the revised Merc was sidepod-less, was excited to imagine Merc found a way to turn the entire monocoque into a peltier cooling system.

          Disappointed to see the Merc sidepods are like other sidepods – but melting into the floor like a blob of carbon fiber ice cream. ;-)

  3. Just wow. As much as I’d like a different team fighting at the front, you really have to applaud the Mercedes engineers. Year after year they come up with the most incredible innovations. I just hope the other teams have a chance and we won’t have another season like 2014-2016 again.

    1. Occasionally they will get it wrong…

      1. We’ve been telling this for 8 years.

  4. Whoa. Big gamble.

    1. why? it’s not like they don’t have a proven alternative design they can revert to.

      it is pretty similar to the williams tbh.

      1. It is similar, both teams would have obviously conceptualized this months ago. I hope the similarity in the sidepod design means the William and Mercedes will be sharing track space more frequently than just while the former is being lapped by the latter. Alex has been hard done by the Red Bull team, in my opinion, and deserves a competitive car this season.

      2. Having both team using the same PU, the similarity is not a coincidencw. lol

        1. McLaren also has the same PU but still looks conventional.

  5. Hope they stay cool with small (no) sidepods. Lol

    1. special cool fluid but if it’s allowed we don’t know yet if it’s flamable.

      1. If it is they can use it to boost te engine for some short extra power.
        Just like they did with the oil burning saga.

  6. The article from Corriere della sera (not Serra) mentioned 2 things: a version B of the car, which is confirmed, and “legendary gains” in the wind tunnel.
    I just don’t want to think about it. We are all done with Mercedes’ dominance

    1. I’m not. As a reasonably neutral F1 fan, after last season I want to see Hamilton wipe the floor with the competition, walk to title 8 and then retire.

      1. Totally my view

      2. “As a reasonably neutral Hamilton fan”

        1. A reasonably neutral fan root for a balanced competition :)

        2. Jean-Christophe
          10th March 2022, 18:22

          Yes, because a neutral fan would find what happened last year scandalous

          1. Yeah, it’s insane how the FIA didn’t dsq hamilton in britain and saudi arabia. Fortunately I think this did teach the DTS wave of fans how much harder non-english drivers have it and how much more their accomplishments mean

          2. I agree, why a neutral fan want Hamilton to wipe the floor with the competition. Why not a new champion, Norris, Leclerc, Sainz, Dan, Russel… All good guys and drivers at the same time.

      3. Anyone except “spiceboy” team winning is ok w/ me

    2. Do you ban children from school because they are intelligent or they work hard and always come first?
      I don’t enjoy too much Mercedes winning almost all the time, but I appreciate the effort they put in, the intelligence and deligence. Most of their results are not because of money but because they sat down and thought things out.

      1. Special childeren will be transfered to OTHER schools with other special childs. So you want Mercedes kicked from F1 to F special. I am sure sidepods are in the rules so no sidepods isn’t allowed.

        I love innovation but must be in a special kader of rules like car must have 4 wheels 1 steer brakes certain weight ect.

        1. Martin Bailey
          10th March 2022, 8:05

          F1 is the special school…. Mercedes is just the star student there.

        2. sorry @macleod, reported you by accident. still strongly disagree though.

          1. No problem that happens to me sometimes!

        3. Nowhere in the rules dictates the size of side pods. Tge crash structure must adhere to the regulations but not side pods. We can quite clearly see the crash structure is on the car and will likely be within regulation specification.
          On your analogy of “special” schools… F1 IS the special school. It is where the best students and teachers play their trade.
          I’m sure you know more about F1 than you are letting on.

        4. @macleod no, the rules do not specify that there has to be a sidepod – all that the regulations state is that there have to be the specified side impact structures, which are present on the car, and that any bodywork on the side of the car should fit within a specified design volume.

          1. Are you sure i thought i saw minimal measurements of sidepods in the rules or was that maximum?

          2. They only specify the maximum extent, not the minimum extent.

          3. Who says a car must have radiators and hence sidepods. It is your choice what you want to do with them so long as you don’t make them like the front or rear wings.

        5. Special childeren will be transfered to OTHER schools with other special childs.

          I don’t think I could disagree more.

          While those with special talents should be encouraged and supported to develop them, separating them from those without similar talents is a bad idea. It encourages a mindset of elitism and exclusion, and can easily turn into a disincentive to do well (separation from friends).

          1. I must agree with you and disagree with my own comment. I was trying to say if Mercedes is 2 seconds faster then nr. 2 they should promote to the next level as they are much too good.

            But now i have see the car there are stil sidepods (and it was only a maximum attributes so they could drop it totally) so i am fine with it…..:)

      2. I may congratulate them but the show would be lame anyways

  7. The report from the Corriera della Sera and Mark Hughes tweet were spot on, wow !

    1. Now to see if the performance results live up to the rumors.

      1. It will. The FIA will do everything in its power to ensure Hamilton wins. I’m sure the new race directors understand orders

  8. So far we can applaud Brawn, there is plenty of diversity in design up and down the pits.

  9. This is epic – if it works. Talk about selling the competition a dummy.

    1. Question is more how did they pay for it developing 2 cars …..I thought we had budgets to keep this impossible.

      They have less time in everything and still have 2 cars …… or the 145 is too high or the control on things doesn’t work very well.

      1. You seem unhappy this morning MacLeod. Has the Mercedes upset you in some way? Why? Merc adhere to financial fair play rules like every team has to.

        1. Yes I got a message that i have covid it sucks!

          1. @macleod
            Get well soon !

          2. @tifoso1989 Thanks luckly i was vaccinated otherwise i would be in trouble!

      2. Do people really think the budget cap is a real thing for Mercedes? How on earth would you monitor this in such a big company that makes car parts all over the world? Why do you think they won the last 8 years?

      3. I don’t think they actually did make “two cars” @macleod. The chassis is unchanged. And they could well have had most of the internals built reusing their configuration from last seasons early in development and used them for the first iteration/shakedown.

        1. @bascb I think your right now i have seen it myself that X layout would fit easy in this chasis.

      4. They’ve been hiding it in Ainslie’s America’s Cup team. I know the AC team has been farming out AC design work to Merc, but more likely it is a way to hide the work on the cars. Ineos guy owns bits of both teams.

    2. Not really, as I’ve been criticizing these rules for the past year and a half, the fia has allowed Mercedes and red bull to steer the regulation far too much. The cars are not what Brawn first intended. Having Mercedes write the rules means they can come up, as was the case in previous years, with a car that is much more developed than anything else. They’ve been at least a year ahead of everyone else.

      1. Having Mercedes write the rules

        Your conspiracies and all-over-the-place comments are becoming a bit tedious.

      2. Brawn only intended to fill his wallet. The cars are irrelevant.

      3. If you’re going to be Facetious, why limit your speculation?

        Mercedes has been secretly guiding the developing of F1 since they withdrew from motor racing in 1955. This engine and chassis have been in the works since 1987 when Mercedes returned to motor racing. But first they had to invent CFD and lithium-ion batteries.

  10. And another season of Mercedes dominance begins

    1. Can we be sure they got it right?

      1. They have never got it wrong in the hybrid era.

      2. I am afraid we are back to 2014-2016 staff, and no f1 fan wants that, let’s hope at least Russel will be good enough to challenge Hamilton.

        1. I don’t think anybody want’s more parade lap championships handed out, especially after getting proper racing last year. Fingers crossed there are no double diffusers in 2022.

          1. Red Bull has one. More or less.

      3. They still have an enormous powerful engine to compensate for design flaws.

        1. Not to forget the best drivers ;-)

      4. They wrote the rules, of course they got it right. The sidepods look different but I’m positive what we saw in catalunya was just bodywork, the sidepods were already super tight.

        1. They really didn’t write the rules. They didn’t even write them for the 2014 hybrid PU.

          But don’t let reality interfere with your dreams.

  11. Let’s not get carried away, there is a reason other teams have larger sidepods: cooling.
    How will Mercedes cool they engine sufficiently? We’ve seen in past seasons that they had issues issues with it sometimes, especially with the black livery.
    I’m no aero specialist, but I heard the sidepods also help the airflow around the rear wheels.

    Anyway, this could be a game changer or a benefit on some tracks and not on others. Are they allowed to use 2 sidepod designs in the season?

    1. From various photos it appears Merc have a cooling inlet at the bottom of the car. Whether it is enough… guess we will find out. Merc yet again pushing the boundaries of innovation. Not easy to copy either as it will require a redesigned engine and cooling layout before you even consider the aero implications.

    2. The performance is surely there. It’s a smart move if they think that they can have enough pace to compensate for the eventual reliability penalties. They can do a 2021 Brazil and change the engine every race and still run away with it. They could also be granted permission to upgrade their PU for reliability purposes.

      1. With budget cap I doubt they chan change the engine every race

        1. The budget cap was already in place last year. I didn’t mean that they will change the entire PU every race. Sorry for not being precise. What I meant is that they can change the ICE or any other component when needed. Besides, if they will be so dominant like they used to be, they can still disappear at the beginning of races and nurse their cars to the finish.

        2. Manto, the budget cap excludes the P.U manufacturers, in this case HPP. I stand to be corrected.

        3. They’ll just change the rules for Hamilton like they always do.

          1. Like they did in Abu Dhabi?

      2. In my opinion, changing the engines freely would warrant penalties.
        If this design is within the rulebook: nice job Mercedes.
        But if it leads to Mercedes changing their engines more frequently, then that rule should be changed. It was introduced because Honda had so many issues, but this would be a blatant misuse of the rule. They already did it last year, but that was only 1 engine I think. It was within the rules, but very unfair in my opinion.

        1. No not one engine.. Bottas used at least three engines and Lewis 2 extra.
          Indeed, a travesty

    3. Shovlin said a few weeks ago that the engine has had a major overhaul– the biggest since 2014.

      I’m wondering if they’re somehow using aero effects to pull air across the engine at a much higher velocity. Cooling doesn’t seem to be a problem for Mercedes (who ran with their engine louvers taped up at one point) or Williams (who had the smallest sidepods until today).

  12. Its not no sidepods, its cleverly arranged. Its vertical rather than horizontal. The only thing to see is would it be effective. It will be demon in straight line and fast corners.

  13. I guess they know what they are doing. But it is not aesthetically pleasing imho.

    1. If it is fast, it will be pleasing.

    2. On the Marbles
      10th March 2022, 8:07

      It’s a formula one car, very few are ‘aethsetically pleasing’, compared to sportscars for example. Although in a field of ugly cars even this one sticks out. Nevertheless I’m fascinated to see if it works well.
      Like many others I’d like to see teams come up with radically different ways of interpreting the rules and for them to innovate. To me this is what makes F1 stand out from most other racing series, it is as much an engineering competition as it is a driver/team competition. To me some of the best eras in F1 have been when teams have been exploring new technology and new ways of doing things; if Merc have found a way to effectively cool their engine with minimal sidepods, then great let’s see what difference that makes!

  14. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
    10th March 2022, 8:36

    Hopefully I’m wrong, but it seem like another season of F1 vs F1.5, and the thrilling uncertainty of who finishes third,
    and that’s only hanging on the hope RB aren’t too fast for all other teams.

    But who knows, maybe the Merc is unreliable, and RB not uncatchable.

  15. Bit of a brave design by Merc especially if it works and gives them an edge. The risk is Brawn could ban it overnight.

  16. There seems to be an overt amount of praise for the ‘genius’ Mercedes team, but isn’t this ‘sidepodless design already revealed by Williams? It seems Merc have actually looked at the Williams and taken a large chunk of that idea.

    1. I don’t think this was a one month job.

      1. I don’t doubt they’ve been working in it for a while @emma, it’s more that no one was praising the ingenuity of the Williams team or design. There seems to be the feeling that if Merc is using it, it’s brilliant and super fast, whereas poor old Williams is left out of the conversation with barely a mention, and since the unveiled it first, it’s really obvious the bias towards recent winners. And yes, I realise Merc dictates the engine cooling configuration and Williams clearly are using that information, but at least give them some all nod for doing it last test, instead of falling all over the 2nd team to reveal it.

        1. There seems to be the feeling that if Merc is using it, it’s brilliant and super fast, whereas poor old Williams is left out of the conversation with barely a mention, and since the unveiled it first, it’s really obvious the bias towards recent winners

          +1. This is coming from a reasonable commenter here on the forum.

    2. It’s certainly not innovative as some seem to think.
      But if it works this ugly beast could be a big step. If not they probably revert to the a spec.
      Money still seems no object for Mercedes.

      1. Ah erikje, there you are again with your anti-Mercedes agenda

        Pretty much everybody except you seems to think it’s innovative. All the pundits, Ross Brawn, even some of the other teams. But you’re the expert, eh?

        1. I touched a nerve it seems :)
          Williams already did the same but your Mercedes only vision is so blurred you only see that team.
          No problem that’s your prerogative.
          But accept people with other visions or migrate to Russia

          1. You believe Merc copied Williams within a month? How weird a mind can be…

          2. @erikje not at all. I’m just fed up of you sounding like a stuck record, that’s all.

            As @romtrain said, this might be similar to Williams in some respects but it’s certainly not been inspired by them. As such, it is a Mercedes innovation, as much as you don’t want to accept that fact.

        2. Noframingplease (@)
          10th March 2022, 19:24

          @gardenfella72 ‘Pretty much everyone will find this innovative’ and cuze @erik doesn’t play the game he is ‘anti Mercedes’. Good lord, …. Reading here the amount of comments about that fantastic Mercedes design I’m more thinking that racefans.net is a more pro hamilton and MB fanzone. Let’s get real: did we already see performance figures that prove the design is right? Was the excitement here in this place the same when the RB was shown in barcelona? I think not. What I see is that a big part of people here really enjoyed the 10 year domination of MB (as long as there hero wins) and think Max is not a real champ. If F1 will start like they did between 2014 and 2020 we will see how many fans will leave. Except the lewis fans of course

      2. Money still seems no object for Mercedes.

        Yes while Red Bull are pinching pennies and not investing in a completely new power unit factory or poaching Mercedes PU engineers at a reported 2-3x salary offer. Don’t throw stones in glass houses.

        1. Power units are not in cap. Do your homework.

          1. I’m always very careful not to respond to your nonsense but you are reaching new highs! You are at the very extreme Max end of the spectrum and see everything that opposes with your warped world view as false. Its quite disconcerting for an adult to be so warped in their outlook (though I could well be wrong about you being an adult!) I won’t be responding to you again and I strongly advise others to do the same when the usual Max/RB driven agenda spouts from your cake hole. He will go away if he isn’t acknowledged… yes, I appreciate the irony in this particular case!

    3. Yeah, It does look like it goes with the same basic idea as Williams had @jasonj. And it is nice to see everyone saying how Mercedes is going to completely dominate again, but so far they might just have made this step to get about level with others, hard to tell before any testing with it has even started!

  17. RocketTankski
    10th March 2022, 9:00

    Mercedes will be 20 mins ahead by the halfway point, so they can stop, cool the engine, and have an ice cream.

    1. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

  18. Charlie Payne
    10th March 2022, 9:01

    Love this:

    “The new Mercedes violates the spirit of the regulations. For us there are some parts that are not legal,” Christian Horner

    Does that mean RB could be worried… or double bluff… who knows… all shall be seen on the real race day.

    1. Marko was accusing McLaren of having an illegal car in Barcelona too – it’s as if anyone who might be some sort of threat is immediately accused of cheating.

      1. anon,

        it’s as if anyone who might be some sort of threat is immediately accused of cheating.

        I’m not a RBR fan, far from it but this is Toto Wolff’s modus operandi.

        1. @tifoso1989 I have never heard Toto Wolff say such things you mentioned, you are talking about Horner mate.

          1. @noname
            RBR bendy wings, pit stops, Honda PU upgrade… This is only last year. I don’t have to bring you examples from every season a team have showed some pace.

          2. @tifoso Would that be the pit stop complaint that McLaren stated they made, and Seidl said he went to the FIA with?

          3. ian dearing,
            The pit stop procedure that was altered last year coincidentally after Mercedes have queried the FIA.

          4. Noframingplease (@)
            10th March 2022, 19:41

            @noname Toto and Lewis are playing there games a lot more smarter. They do the same things as Horner and Marko do, but frame their message always more indirect so that fans like you don’t recognize. In practice their ‘game’ is a lot more effective.!you forgot probably the flappy wing issues last years. Yes, and the pitstoprules (of which you really believe it was Seidle or whatever). Did you also hear the chairman of MB giving the press explanation about their suddenly speed increase since brasil? No, so why was it normal that during the first half of the season 2021 Lewis couldn’t stop mention the surprising straightline speed of the Honda, that even the Honda chairman gave explanation, after the constant insinuations of the puppet of Toto.

        2. You seem to have some problems if anything seems to trigger illogical rants about Mercedes.

          Meanwhile, we had Horner accusing Mercedes of having an illegal car, then the team tried to claim that he had said nothing, and now they have changed their position again and are now claiming that Horner wasn’t speaking in an official capacity.

          1. anon,
            I’m not a RBR fan to begin with. I don’t like their whiny, vulgar and sometimes offensive behaviour. That doesn’t mean Toto is a gentleman either. It’s not illogical rant, Toto has been doing the same thing to the competition, why I should be concerned about Christian giving him a taste of his own medicine.

          2. anon Lol and you accused someone on another topic of ‘stirring it up.’ You are just as triggered by anything RBR related.

          3. And he was speaking about the mirrors not the side pots.
            So a lot of made up news for the antifans of horner and Redbull :)

      2. As well anon…”Marko was accusing McLaren of having an illegal car in Barcelona too – it’s as if anyone who might be some sort of threat is immediately accused of cheating.” Really? I guess I missed that. What exactly did he say?

        1. @robbie

          anon Lol and you accused someone on another topic of ‘stirring it up.’ You are just as triggered by anything RBR related.

          Pot calling kettle black!

    2. Horner is annoyed they haven’t introduced changes that specifically benefit Red Bull’s design philosophy and hamper Mercedes’ like they did for the 2021 season.

    3. You do know this is fake news.
      Horner did not used those words.
      But its telling who jumps on the occasion :)

      1. To our beloved twister of facts: ‘This does not correspond to the spirit of the regulation. For us, this sidepod is illegal.’.

  19. As much as this is intriguing from a cooling and aerodynamic point of view, i’m more impressed how they got this through the crash tests – isn’t there usually quite a crash protection structure integrated into the sidepod area??

    1. My thoughts exactly. I guess it must have passed the required tests but it still seems surprising!

    2. There’s no real reason it wouldn’t pass the crash test’s

      The crash structure you see on the Merc is the same as all team have, its just that it’s usually hidden by bodywork, by the normal bulbus-style inlets. The Merc sidepods being so narrow is why we now see that side impact structure

      1. When i say “The crash structure you see on the Merc is the same as all team have” – im referring to the piece of bodywork you see underneath the mirrors (Merc have neatly covered the structure with a ‘wing’ to guide airflow) on other teams cars, this structure is just ‘hidden’ inside the front section of the air inlets.

  20. Wow! I kept reading about rumours of a radical sidepod for Mercedes but I dismissed it as I assumed that a radical design change would perhaps render the results from Barcelona a bit irrelevant. This looks very different/aggressive – and I daresay – fast!

    Absolutely fascinating. I feel a bit sorry for Ferrari’s sidepods now, nobody is looking at those any more!

  21. Adrian Newey has left the chat.

    1. Running back to the drawing board as we speak no doubt.

  22. And Red Bull already complaining SMH, such a toxic team and you wonder why their fanbase is toxic as well

    1. Yeah, the irony is infuriating. Hopefully that ill-gotten number one decal will look ridiculous in P6.

      And they still haven’t pulled their product out of Russia.

    2. They didn’t rig the sport for the past eight years

  23. This Mercedes should eat a bit more, looks anorectic! :)

  24. Just a copy of Williams design and it’s the ugliest thing on asphalt ever.

    1. If you listened to Wolff all through the break before even the first test he kept talking about the packaging. So this is not a copy of the Williams they had this done all of last year but delayed revealing it. I thought their sidepods looked too ordinary from the original launch pictures.

      1. I stopped listening what toto is saying long ago as he is the fart voice of a bad liar. The concept is nothing much special than what Williams come from the start, just an ugly copy.

  25. It seems the interpretation they’ve taken that the crash structure doesn’t need to be part of the sidepod is what has allowed this concept to work. Personally I think the design is perfectly within the rules has written and I don’t see Mercedes having much appetite to throw the FIA a bone after last the last race last year. The controversy last year also means any perceived move by the FIA to penalise Mercedes alone would be perceived as more bias in the sport towards Red Bull from a neutral perspective.

    I also don’t think it will be that easy to get the rules changed with 8 team votes as I think Mercedes could get support from Aston Martin and Williams to block it. Williams because they can likely run this concept quite quickly this year based on their initial design and Aston Martin because they get a lot of Mercedes support.

    I see Horner is already crying this morning saying the car is illegal. Even if the car is legal for the year I suspect they’ll tidy up the rules for next year to prevent all cars using it. It means Mercedes might lose out on a concept for next year as other teams could steal a march on maximising their current sidepod designs.

    The supports on the floor they’ve added at the rear are also quite interesting if they stay around.

    1. I retract my statement on Horner who it appears hasn’t made a statement on the record this morning yet. I might not like the guy at times but it’s not fair to criticize him for stuff he hasn’t officially said on the record.

  26. Simply wow, and bold. You have to admire the ingenuity if it works, it works. This was an opportunity to start from 0, so no excuses!

    1. Yes great work by Williams.
      Such a small team with that kind of innovation.

      1. Just because Williams showed it first doesn’t mean they came up with the innovation. Merc had to first lay out the engine in a way that allowed for the smaller sidepods.

  27. Can’t wait for Whinger Spice’s actual reaction.

    1. AMUS already reporting that he is complaining and calling it illegal because its not within the spirit of the rules.

      1. Christian Horner doesn’t understand what “spirit of the rules” mean. He had no problem with “the spirit of the rules” when he accepted that illegitimate WDC.

        1. Lol right and situation exactly reversed and TW would have handed LH’s 8th title back to FIA.

  28. Regardless of whether the Mercedes is quick this year or whether the no-sidepod approach works well enough to cool their engine properly.. this is why I love F1.

    The gamesmanship associated with bringing a basic spec next-gen car to the first test in Spain, and then bringing quite a different car to the Bahrain test just 2 weeks later is brilliant. From the looks of the photos, it’s not just the sidepods that are completely different, but also the profile of the front wing. I would have loved to have seen Red Bull’s reaction to Mercedes rolling out a very different car in Bahrain.

    We’re all here thinking that McLaren may have made some decent gains over the winter. We’ve been hearing that Mattia is happy with how innovative Ferrari have been with this years car (with those beautiful sidepods!). We also heard how a title fight in 2021 may have hamstrung the development of Mercedes’ 2022 car.

    Instead, Lewis and George may have been holding a couple of aces all along. Can’t wait for the new season to begin!

    1. As Lewis said in a press conference… “My team don’t make mistakes!”… But we won’t know till they hit the track in a couple of weeks.

  29. Quite shocked anyone would make changes like this soooo late and close to first race.
    Was Barcelona a bluff, and if so why wasnt it dreadfully slow?
    This is the sort of thing i would find unrealistic in a F1 movie, …. but here it is.
    IF this is quick, no one will ever believe mercs concept is real until the final test for years to come.

  30. Electroball76
    10th March 2022, 12:02

    Maybe they can get some extra cooling from the air going under / through the car and so can have tiny micropods now

    1. They do have a cooling inlet at the bottom of the car

  31. One word.. UGLY

  32. What a sleek design, the Red Bull should slide right off in Monza this year. (tongue in cheek)

  33. Out of all the cars that were launched this year, to me, the Williams had the most promising design. I didn’t have faith they could develop it like the big teams could but lowering the center of gravity, reducing (or eliminating) all the clunky sidepods and making the car significantly more “trim” gives a lot of benefits — I thought the development for next year would be Williams launch back into the points regularly.

    They may lose out in overall downforce but they can work away on it and develop downforce throughout the year by accelerating air over the rear wing more efficiently. I figured other teams would copy them but not like this. Only Mercedes and RBR could pull something like this off in such a short period of time, unless they did indeed throw a “dummy” design for Barcelona to keep other teams off their scent. If they designed and developed this between the Barcelona test and Bahrain, then… wow.

    1. Those square ducts must have been a dummy, while they worked on their proper design.

      1. Agree. The changes are so drastic, it would affect every single other component of the aerodynamics.

      2. I think Mercedes focused the first test on other aspects. Better to hide the real design until the second test to give less opportunity for other teams to react. For example if there were two tests last year they would not have revealed DAS until the second test.

        The new car is hideous without the sidepods.

        1. I disagree – I think the sidepods look clunky and welcome getting rid of them. We’re just used to them.

    2. No way this happened after the first test, the engine had to be designed to be mounted for smaller sidepods, the new sidepods had to pass F1 crash test etc. They showed a dummy at the first test.

  34. Wow.
    That’s why I love Formula 1.
    Formula 1 design engineers are the most creatives in the world. There was a fear that F1 would become a spec series with the bew rules. Every team’s car look different. There is no budget cap or rulebook that can stop human creativity. I read that the teams can join, like in a cartel, and vote that inovation away, if that proven to give too much of an advantage. I called that BS. If Mercedes prove to hace done a better engineering work, they should be allowed to keep it. Well, let see if tha inovation is proven competitive. For what Ive seen in the tests, Ferrari and RB have a very stable car on corners. while Hamilton and Russel were fighting the car, like last year’s winter testing. I ca not wait for the first race.

  35. If this is legal, then finally some awesome inovation.

    I was secretly hoping all teams would do something like this…

    Now if Mercedes is much faster, that would be bad for show.. But great for engineering.

  36. This is quite interesting!

  37. Alex McFarlane
    10th March 2022, 17:44

    “Look ma, no sidepods!”

  38. The Merc is as ugly as sin, but if it gets the job done, so be it.
    The prettiest car is still the Ferrari. And I suspect, the quickest.
    Was sad to hear Sulky Spice is throwing his toys around already, droning on about the ‘spirit of the sport’.
    The Ugly Merc doesn’t actually look that quick. But then they all look rather slow. In corners. S L O W
    I suspect Merc will have a third option, somewhere closer to the Ferrari.
    I hope someone nicks Sulky’s hubcaps.

  39. As always… innovative and aggressive don’t necessarily equal fast or race-winning. It’s REALLY great to see a divergence in designs this year, but we won’t really know the results until we hit the first Q3/race!

  40. Said it in another article.

    When Mercedes starts bigging up other teams, saying they have issues etc….worry.

    Because they only ever do it when they are either mega confident, or have something huge on the way.

    When they don’t say anything, that’s when you can be sure they actually have a problem.

  41. So much for the idea that Liberty turned F1 into IndyCar Plus.

  42. The F1 site analysis has the Mercedes 0.29 ahead of Red Bull on race pace already (and everyone else behind them).
    It kind of reminds me of the weird shapes of a stealth fighter, crossed with a string ray, possibly because of the way it flattens out into that wiiiide ripply floor. Almost organic.

    1. If the car is that fast, perhaps they can simply adjust the ride height and take care of porpoising problem — even if it sacrifices some performance? They still have the thin wire/metal connecting the rear floor to the car body.. wonder what the final version there would be.

      1. @macademianut It does look quite Frankenstein-ish still, even the bits of bodywork appear bolted on, still experimental almost. Presumably they have quite a lot of variant parts they want to try.

        1. @david-br It’s going to be an interesting two days of testing.. can’t wait for the first race weekend.

  43. Kinda looks like they left the old car out in the sun for a few too many hours and the sidepods just melted…..

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