Andrew Shovlin talks about slim sidepod concept and if the car will look different in F1 2023, while adding about the development work.

As it stands, only Mercedes now are operating the sidepod concept. Williams being the latest team to change to the downwash bodywork. As it is Mercedes are getting there, third best team so far and maybe a win might happen. The German manufacturer are improving and sticking with their philosophy of the slim sidepod.

If they switched back, would they be at sharp end but perhaps the struggles are not sidepod related. Shovlin, trackside engineer, explains that the slim sidepod concept will remain on as they feel even if they remove it, that won’t change its competitiveness. But for next year, he states that he will be surprised if the car looks the same

“We don’t think that just changing our side pod will change our competitiveness,” said Shovlin. “We’re certainly not of that mind, nor are we wedded to saying this is how the Mercedes car must look, so from the very early part of the year we’re looking at other teams bodyworks and certainly with a view to next year, looking up and down the grid to see ideas.

“And it may be that we don’t just take another team’s idea. We’re looking at combinations of different concepts. But it’s a gradual process, but I think fundamentally our car isn’t going to change appearance massively this season. But I’d be surprised if next year’s car looks the same,” summed up Shovlin.

Question then could be when do Mercedes as a team start to look 2023. As it is, they are improving massively and appear to want to stick with what they have car wise. Certainly appears so that the 2023 car looks like being different but Mercedes could use the rest of the 2022 campaign to look at how they can develop for the 2023 season with half an eye on this year also.

“I mean, in Formula 1 you never actually draw a line,” said Shovlin. “It’s a gradual blend of resource into W13 drifting downwards and 14 drifting up. We’re going to need some clarity on the regulations, whether they’re going to change before you’d make a really big shift. But every team will have started some work on next year.

“The difference for us was the early part of the year was very tough, it wasn’t making a lot of sense and it was really firefighting. We’re just starting to get to a stage now where we can get back to what we would call the business-as-usual development. And that’s actually quite exciting.

“There’s a lot of happy people at the factory now that we’re sort of getting into a phase that’s starting to make sense to us. And we’re just using these. We need to score points, we need to fight in the championships but the big one is we’ve got to learn to know what we want to do for next year and to try and get the car back to the front,” summed up Shovlin.

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