Brawn: A pretty volatile period for F1 innovations

Michelle Foster
George Russell puts in the laps in the zero-pod W13 in testing. Bahrain March 2022

Mercedes driver George Russell puts in the laps in the zero-pod W13 in testing. Bahrain March 2022

From Mercedes sidepods, or lack thereof, to their mirror assembly, Ross Brawn admits Formula 1 is going through a “pretty volatile period” with all the innovations.

As yet though, there have been no protests.

Mercedes shocked the Formula 1 paddock when they arrived at the Sakhir circuit for the official pre-season testing with a zero-pod W13, as it has been dubbed.

Instead of having the usual sidepods that bulge outwards, the W13’s collapse inwards.

It raised eyebrows with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner saying he doubts all the parts on the Mercedes are within the regulations.

However, for Ferrari it wasn’t the zero-pods that they disagreed with, it was the mirror assembly.

“We always said the mirror should have not have any aero purpose,” said Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto, “they should be there just to look behind, and the way they treated their cars, certainly there is a significant aero purpose in the mirrors themselves.

“It is something that we need to stop for the future, no doubt. In the spirit of what we intend to do for the future, it is something we need to discuss.”

Brawn, though, is enjoying seeing the innovations hit the track.

“It’s getting serious now after Barcelona where everyone was just exploring what they had,” the F1 managing director told Sky Sports F1.

“What’s impressive are the changes between Barcelona and here, and that’s the thing with new regulations.

“You’ve got the scope of the regulations but also you get to see what everyone else has done.

“So after the first test, I’m sure everyone went away and started to think about what they had and what they might want to do.

“It’s a pretty volatile period with lots of innovation but it’s pretty much as I expected, so very exciting.”


But while Brawn is thrilled by what he is seeing, the former F1 team boss reiterated that Formula 1 will take steps to ban any innovation that gives a team a massive advantage over the rest of the field.

“One of the significant things we changed was the governance of Formula 1,” he said. “In the past, we needed everybody to agree to a change in season.

“Now you can make a change with 80 per cent of the teams agreeing, as long as the FIA and Formula 1 also agree.

“Once the interpretation Mercedes has made has been understood, then we can get a balanced view and take a view on its impact, what effect it’s going to have.


“At the end of the day you have to go on what the wording of the regulation is because you take it to a court, that’s what they judge it on.

“But that wording can be changed. With an 80 per cent supermajority, we can do that.

“We need to see how this one pans out.”


Mercedes stun paddock with no sidepod W13

Mercedes have stunned the Formula One paddock with their W13 having no sidepods.