F1 team chiefs are not certain if the sidepod designs will converge into one for 2023 season after seeing how it has worked this year.

With all the rule changes that kicked in this year, one of the most intriguing issues was the side pod of the cars. There were other intriguing talking points, vortices and the much discussed and head wrecking porpoising but the side pod design took on a league of their own with the “in-wash” design, “down wash “ design and one of the most amusing, the “zero pod” which was adopted and designed by Mercedes.

Differing designs and differing results, but at the end of the day, which was the best and is it a case scenario that there will more changes to same in 2023. Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin, Aston Martin’s Tom McCullough and Red Bull’s Pierre Wache reckoned the main aspect was the end result where most of the F1 teams got it right as per their respective designs but with a year almost in, whether teams end up in one direction will be key for next year.

Shovlin: “I think the rules do change for next year, that’s going to change how people are looking at developing their car. You’d always say that the fastest car is the one that’s got the best concept, so, you know, today that’s going to be Red Bull. Where that goes into next year it’s difficult to say. And I don’t think… Certainly we, as a team, have not fixed what our car is going to look like. We’re still exploring different concepts. And that process will go on for some time, but we’re just looking for what will give us the best development opportunity in those new regulations going forward.”

McCullough: “Obviously, through the development phase, we went two different routes. We actually design the chassis to take two different radiator installations. When the season started, we elected to go back to an earlier development route that we’d had, more akin to the Red Bull at the moment. But as Andrew says, regulations are changing next year. And we’ve learned so much during this year. But from a cost cap side of things, there’s only so much you can actually do in-season. So now’s the opportunity, over the winter, to decide with your simulation tools, obviously aerodynamically that’s largely CFD and in the wind tunnel, what is the right way to go to get the most performance on the car and that’s a process which is ongoing at the moment.

Wache: “I am not sure it’s the best or worst concept, I think it is just one part of the puzzle, this kind of sidepod aspect, the invisible part. And for sure if you develop your car around a certain concept, if you change it, it will be difficult to find the benefit of it. I think you have to be very open minded on how you see the car and the concept of the car for the future. As Andrew mentioned, you know, the rules are changing next year. I’m not sure that everybody will converge to one, it’s more how you see the new rules, how you try to sort out and what you try to achieve with a concept. Because it’s one part of it. And then how make the floor around the car, the sidepod, after a certain level, how to try to fix or try to direct the flow.”

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