Mercedes copy Red Bull’s path after revealing latest upgrades

Will the new Mercedes upgrades have the desired effect?

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After over a year of turmoil, Mercedes have changed development direction and revealed new Red Bull-esque sidepods, which will debut in the 2023 F1 Monaco Grand Prix.

After a troubled start to the 2023 F1 season, Mercedes elected to take several chances on the technical side, recalling James Allison from Ineos’ America’s Cup project and ending its two-year experiment with ‘zero’ sidepods.

The upgrades were initially scheduled to debut in Imola, but after flooding in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy cancelled the race, Mercedes brought the new sidepods to Monte Carlo instead.

As well as new Red Bull-style sidepods, Mercedes also have a new floor and revised front suspension.

Mercedes show off new sidepods at 2023 Monaco GP | Total-Motorsport

New upgrades positive in simulator

With Monte Carlo’s tight twisty nature limiting the amount of data Mercedes can pick up, simulator work has given the team an early idea of whether the upgrades will work.

George Russell believes although the upgrades have shown promise in the simulator, it is not guaranteed whether they will translate into improved performance on the track.

“What we’ve tried and simulated so far has been positive,” Russell told the media in Monaco. “There’s both aero and mechanical aero which every driver every team is chasing. 

“So [it’s] not necessarily guaranteed lap time. But it will bring performance, the mechanical ones, we need to wait and see once we get on the track.

“There are arguments to say it may deliver more on the track than on the sim because it’s going to be helping our confidence in driving the car, whereas, in the simulator, confidence is a limitation. 

“So there’s potentially more to be gained on the track than what we’ve seen on the sim. But as I said, we just need to reevaluate next week.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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