Brawn: F1 didn’t anticipate Mercedes’ ‘extreme’ sidepod design

Mercedes’ “very extreme” sidepod design will prompt “a lot of debate” in the paddock, according to Formula 1’s managing director Ross Brawn. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13 - sidepod detail.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13 - sidepod detail.

The reigning world champions turned heads on the opening day of the final pre-season test in Bahrain when it debuted a revised sidepod design as part of an upgrade to its W13 challenger. 

Mercedes’ updated car caught the attention of rival Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who was quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport as saying the bold design “violates the spirit of the regulations”. 

However, Red Bull responded by issuing a statement in which it stressed there was no ‘official’ comment made by Horner. 

Speaking to F1TV during the opening day of running, Brawn, who worked with a team of engineers and designers to come up with F1’s new regulations, admitted that some of the teams’ concepts, including Mercedes’ new sidepod design, have taken him by surprise. 

“Some of the solutions honestly we never anticipated, and I think we will go back and investigate those solutions and make sure they maintain the objectives of the new rules,” Brawn said. 

“I think they do. Our initial impressions are there’s nothing here we would be overly concerned about in terms of those objectives of the regulations, so it’s just fascinating to see a wide range of solutions. 

“What’s become a step change for the teams is a lot of new cooler innovations, the heat exchanges and the radiators has become available, and it’s given them more scope to create the designs they’ve got.”

Brawn added: “There’s no doubt that the Mercedes concept, we didn’t anticipate. 

"It’s a very extreme interpretation of the regulation and I think there’s going to be, inevitably, a lot of debate about their interpretation and that’s what happens with new regs. 

“And however hard you try to close off all the options, and believe me we closed off hundreds of them, the innovation in F1 is always extreme. 

“From our perspective, it’s largely about does it affect the objective of the regs? But for the teams, they want to be sure no one has taken an interpretation they don’t feel is correct, so I think there’s going to be a lot of debate in the next few days.” 

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