Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Mercedes have admitted they are still “exploring different concepts” for their 2023 car and have hinted they could look at Red Bull’s designs. Mercedes trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, stressed Red Bull has built the best concept on the grid.
He adds that the Silver Arrows have not yet decided what their car would look like for 2023, suggesting they could be tempted to steal their rivals’ plans. He said: “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. Certainly we, as a team, have not fixed what our car is going to look like. We’re still exploring different concepts.
“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.”
Shovlin’s statement comes after several comments from Mercedes that suggest they are looking into the Red Bull system. George Russell admitted that nothing was “off the table” after the Italian Grand Prix last weekend.
When pushed on whether the team would take inspiration from the Red Bull or Ferrari cars, the Mercedes star accepted the team may need to change its philosophy. He explained: “I think nothing’s off the table. For sure we have obviously a pretty unique design with the side pods. It’s not off the cards that we will continue with that design.
“But it’s equally not off the cards that we will totally change philosophy. But ultimately if we have the wide side pods or the narrow side pods, that isn’t the performance differentiator, there’s more to it.”
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Earlier in the summer, Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott also suggested the team would be looking closely at the Red Bull design. He revealed Mercedes mechanics were now asking themselves what the Red Bull bodywork does and why it works.
Based on the research, Elliott warned it could be possible to see changes either this season or at the start of next year. He commented: “I think it would be silly not to have a level of humility, and not think you might have got it wrong, and not go and look at what everyone else has done.
“And that’s not just the Red Bull concept. That’s looking at all the concepts up and down the grid and saying what looks interesting and why.”
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