On the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain, Mercedes revealed a radically updated version of their 2022 car with almost no sidepods.
It has been speculated that Mercedes will reveal a radically different version of the W13, and the team did not disappoint.
Although the rumours indicated that the Mercedes W13 V2 will have no sidepods, the revealed car does have them, but they are minimal. To ensure adequate cooling the team introduced a double series of vents.
Additionally the sidepods have been extremely slimmed down, but the car does feature large side impact spars (SIS), which are mandatory.
While the new regulations allow for teams to have different approaches to their sidepod designs, Mercedes is the only team that has introduced side-impact protection elements separate from the sidepods themselves, allowing them to keep the sidepods extremely slim.
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It is yet to be seen if the redesign will result in improved performance for the team, but it has been rumoured that the solution has cut the laptime by around a second, while being tested in the simulator.
When the live footage from Bahrain showed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Christian Horner having a conversation, Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz wondered out loud if they are actually discussing Mercedes’ surprising solution.
”I imagine that’s the conversation they are having,” Kravitz said.
“Do they have to worry about it? We will see. If we were disappointed with what Mercedes brought to Barcelona, now we can say Ha ha!
“This is what they were working on,” the Briton concluded.