Toto Wolff makes bold Mercedes sidepod admission

Could Mercedes make a drastic change in direction of their F1 car over the course of 2023?


Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that their radical sidepod design could change during the 2023 Formula 1 season.

The German manufacturer shocked everyone at the second F1 pre-season test of 2022 by turning up with very skinny sidepods while most other teams went big and wide in that department.

Despite their risky strategy, performances did not match the lofty expectations of Wolff and drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Wolff has since admitted that even though he is proud of the bold decision his engineers made with the W13, the W14 is likely to see it’s design changed as upgrades are brought throughout the year.

“It’s important to be bold in this sport,” Wolff told selected media outlets, including “I’m proud of the solutions we put in the car last year.

“Our sidepod design is not something we believe is fundamentally the reason we didn’t perform.

“We kept with the narrow sidepod but you could well see some development from now on that could be coming with the upgrades and the sidepods are likely to change. Not very soon but we are looking at solutions but it is not a core fundamental part for us as we judge.”

When Mercedes unveiled their W14 car for the 2023 F1 season, we saw the same skinny sidepods that were prominent on the previous year’s car before a shakedown at Silverstone.

Russell was behind the wheel for the initial laps and, although very little could be learned from the running, the Brit was happy that everything ran smoothly.

F1 Testing has been cut down to just three days in Bahrain for 2023 so Mercedes will have to hope their commitment to this design pays dividends when they hit the Sakhir tarmac.

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for and a top class F1 writer.
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