McLaren’s TD says Mercedes’ ‘zero sidepod’ approach could be viable

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

McLaren’s technical boss James Key says “with the progress that Mercedes have made”, it does leave the ‘zero sidepod’ approach “open as a possibility”.

At the beginning of 2022, Mercedes has introduced an innovative ‘zero sidepod’ car concept, but it immediately failed to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari’s concepts.

However, by the end of the year Mercedes was able to beat Ferrari fairly regularly, and also seriously challenge Red Bull.

Despite some observers decrying Mercedes concept, McLaren’s Executive Director, Technical, James Key says all three approcahes are viable for the future.

“We’ll have to see what we see, but my guess is that cars will begin to look more similar,” Key said.

“I don’t know what Mercedes is going to do, for example, or Ferrari, because those two cars are actually quite unique.

“Most people, and us included, have gone for something which is a down-washing bodywork.


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“But we’ll see because you’d have to say that the top three teams have got all three philosophies and they’re all pretty quick.

“We could see the Ferrari and Mercedes were opposite ends of the spectrum, but now have very similar performance. It shows that they’re all valued in a way.

“With the progress that Mercedes have made, it does leave that approach open as a possibility.

“Equally, a lot of teams headed towards a little bit what Ferrari did with a slightly more slab-sided approach on their side pods, which is the opposite effect [to what Mercedes was going for], but it has a different effect on the way the floor works.

“Is there a hybrid of all of them where you can get the effects of everything? Maybe teams will begin to head towards trying to get the best of all worlds,” Key concluded.

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