Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott has confessed that the Silver Arrows will “have a think” about whether it wants to take a leaf out of Red Bull’s design book and implement its radical-looking sidepods in the Mercedes W13.
The sidepods used in the RB18 are distinctly different to what other teams are using this year. Apart from being more raised and undercut than competitors, the team has also left more room underneath for air to flow.
Adrian Newey is known for the technical innovation he can bring to an F1 team and it looks like he has not disappointed this year either. It makes it all the more interesting to see whether this unique design will give Red Bull a pronounced advantage at the start of the season.
The return of porpoising was a common theme for all teams during pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Since then, McLaren may well have found the trick to solving the problem, while new Mercedes driver George Russell has asked the FIA to allow a ‘banned trick’.
Other teams experiencing similar problems
Mercedes technical director Elliott believes this is a central problem for all teams on the grid.
“It’s a problem we’re all facing,” Elliott said on the official Formula 1 YouTube channel.
“The reality is we’ve just got to learn as quickly as we can. We’re doing as much testing as we can here [in Barcelona], and we’ll do a lot of simulation work back at the factory.
“It will be about how we either solve that, or how we deal with it and mitigate it in the first races.”
Elliott was quick to bring up what Red Bull has done differently compared to last year.
He also hinted that it is something Mercedes might be looking to implement in its own car if it is unable to find a solution itself.
“The most visually different I think are the sidepods that Red Bull Racing have come up with,” Elliott said.
“Looks interesting, so we’ll go and have a think about that.”