Clive Mason/Getty Images
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – FEBRUARY 24: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14 on track during day two of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 24, 2023 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Since the start of the 2023 Formula One season, Mercedes has been dragging on the floor, trying hard to reach the front grid. And despite bringing many, many upgrades, they are still lagging way behind their rivals Red Bull. Apparently, some hardcore Mercedes fans are blaming the team for not being able to make a car that can compete with the beast RB19.

Along with Ferrari, Aston Martin surprisingly entered the competition to fight for the podium this year. Their driver Fernando Alonso also achieved consecutive podiums at the start of the season. And the reason was their surprising success was their car’s model based on Red Bull’s RB19. Similarly, McLaren also shot up the front last weekend at Silverstone, where Lando Norris secured second position ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. And they are also rumored to have copied the RB19 car. However, McLaren’s principal Andrea Stella has clearly denied such a notion. Hence, Mercedes fans also demand their team to copy the Red Bull’s design to achieve some pace and results in the remaining races. And it looks like boss Toto Wolff has addressed their query.


Toto Wolff Reveals How Copying Red Bull’s Sidepods Design Affected Mercedes W14

Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes W14 Car

Reportedly, Mercedes tried to copy Red Bull’s design concept for the 2023 season but did not get the final product. Apparently, as revealed by boss Toto Wolff himself, the early experiments they did with the rival’s sidepod copy showed a “substantial” loss of downforce compared to its baseline design. The low side-pods design of Red Bull, which is way different from Mercedes’ zero-pod concept, did not provide any benefit. And, in fact, made it worse in its early wind tunnel tests. However, the way teams like Aston Martin and McLaren revamped the original Bulls idea and made changes to their cars which are clearly more fruitful, it looks like the Silver Arrows once again need to think. They need to understand how their teams are enjoying gains from the same design while facing the loss of downforce.

As the Mercedes boss mentioned, they have a great group of aerodynamicists led by James Allison. “I’m sure that it will be a consideration seeing the step McLaren made,” he asserted. However, Toto emphasized that the key to the Silver Arrows making a huge step forward in unlocking more performance from its floor and underside rather than the visible bodywork. For him, the side pods and the bodywork are just part of the chassis. And the team believes that some more solutions are left there to open up.

James Allison Mercedes
James Allison Mercedes Technical Director Source: Sky Sports F1

Meanwhile, the German-based manufacturer also brought their own upgrades to the British GP. However, the upgrades were insufficient to push Lewis Hamilton from P2 to P1 and beat Max Verstappen. Although, Mercedes Chief Technical Engineer James Allison has asserted that the new front wing design has more potential to provide to the W14 car, which will be visible on the circuit with slower turns, unlike Silverstone.