Toto Wolff quizzed on whether Mercedes have a fundamental sidepod issue

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

With McLaren talking up their revised sidepods, Toto Wolff concedes Mercedes may have to re-evaluate their approach to the Red Bull-esque look after McLaren’s podium result.

In the midst of a season in which several teams are fighting to be best of the rest behind the rampant Red Bull squad, Mercedes have found themselves in the midst of the masses in an ever-changing tussle.

While they looked to be the team on the rise after the introduction of a B-spec W14 at the Monaco Grand Prix resulted in podiums in Spain and Canada, they’ve been pipped to P2 by first Ferrari and then McLaren at the Austrian and British races.

Additional reporting Thomas Maher

Mercedes versus McLaren sidepods

While it could be said the latter came as a surprise, McLaren not showing podium-contending pace in the first part of the season, the Woking team has made inroads of late having put a revised MCL60 on the track.

One of the most notable aspect of the new car it the Red Bull-style sidepods.

Beaten by the McLarens in qualifying with Lando Norris P2 to Oscar Piastri’s third, Hamilton said: “I’m not surprised. I mean, if you look at the car, it makes sense.”

He added: “If you just put it alongside a Red Bull, it looks very very similar down the side, so it’s working.”

Wolff himself conceded the new-look MCL60 “looks like a Red Bull” but added that the only thing at the end of the day that matters is the “stopwatch”.

But with Norris and Piastri both managing to hold off a Mercedes driver in Sunday’s British Grand Prix, it saw Wolff again asked about those Red Bull sidepods and whether Mercedes had missed a trick.

He says while Mercedes did look at the concept in the past, they found it cost them downforce, but that doesn’t mean they won’t examine it again. recommends

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He told the media including “We had the sidepod concept and the bodywork in the tunnel very early on already to see which avenues it would open up, and how much it would add to performance.

“And the relative loss of the downforce, the way we measure it, was substantial.

“So it’s not something that we wanted to follow up early in the year.

“Will we change our design direction? I think we have a great group of aerodynamicists led by James [Allison, technical director] and I’m sure that it will be a consideration seeing the step they made.”

Read more: British Grand Prix conclusions: Norris’ podium warning, Hamilton wants answers