Mercedes looking at ‘interesting’ Red Bull sidepods

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen Red Bull side shot. Spain, February 2022.

A side shot of Max Verstappen in the Red Bull RB18. Spain, February 2022.

Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott hinted the team will “have a think” about how the radical-looking Red Bull sidepods work, after the cars were in action in pre-season running in Barcelona.

The RB18’s sidepods raised eyebrows in the week for just how different they look compared to other cars in the field, as they are significantly raised and undercut and appear to have left more room underneath for air to flow.

Previous design processes led by Adrian Newey have not been strangers when it comes to technical innovation and trying something different, and the new set of regulations appear to have shown Red Bull take a different approach to the rest of the teams on the grid.

Max Verstappen's Red Bull at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022.
Max Verstappen's Red Bull passes the empty grandstand at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022.

But the buzzword of the week to come out of the first three days of pre-season was the return of porpoising, with the ground effect aerodynamics causing the cars to bounce in motion as the downforce generated pulled the cars back towards the asphalt while going over bumps.

Drivers have spoken out against the problems caused for them with the bumpy ride they are getting, and the teams are looking to find a solution as soon as possible.

McLaren are thought to have cracked the code for now, and Elliott thinks the problem is something which has happened “up and down the grid”, with everyone looking for their own way of ending the issue.

“It’s a problem we’re all facing,” Elliott said to the official Formula 1 YouTube channel.

“The reality is we’ve just got to learn as quickly as we can. We’re doing as much testing as we can here [in Barcelona], and we’ll do a lot of simulation work back at the factory.

“It will be about how we either solve that, or how we deal with it and mitigate it in the first races.”


But when it came to discussing the main difference among the cars from the initial 2022 designs, the Mercedes technical director pointed to what their title rivals from last season have put together on the side of their car.

Elliott says that is something the Silver Arrows are likely to explore further themselves and, if they find it a better solution than they have, the history of Formula 1 would dictate that you can bet some kind of copy of it will show up in Bahrain.

“The most visually different I think are the sidepods that Red Bull Racing have come up with,” Elliott said. “Looks interesting, so we’ll go and have a think about that.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Mercedes looking at ‘interesting’ Red Bull sidepods

Mercedes have suggested that they will be looking at Red Bull's interesting sidepods.