Home » Stella explains why the Mercedes zero sidepod concept doesn’t work

Stella explains why the Mercedes zero sidepod concept doesn’t work

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Stella explains why the Mercedes zero sidepod concept doesn’t work

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella explained why the concept of Formula 1 zero Mercedes F1 sidepod was a failure.

During pre-season testing in 2022, Mercedes presented the W13 with noticeable bellies while in week two it brought a competition-shaking package called the zero sidepod, unlike the “robust” version lined up elsewhere on the grid.

While during 2023 most teams abandoned the idea previously studied in 2022 by copying the Red Bull concept, the Silver Arrows remained faithful to the philosophy, also carrying it on the 2023 car before quickly abandoning it, with a W14 B looking more like RedBull and AstonMartin which was unveiled in the Monte Carlo GP.

By now all the teams are going in the direction of Red Bull and Aston Martin, where the air is pushed down into the bottom area and the diffuser.
Stella explaining why this “downwash” is so crucial.

f1 Stella McLaren

“I wouldn’t just say downwash, I would say the wide sidepods are actually the main concept which seems to interact very well with the underbody,” Stella told the media when asked why downwash was so prominent in today’s modern F1 cars.

“The side pods, in simple terms, act a bit like side skirts, so from an aerodynamic point of view, having the wide side pods helps the air intake on the bottom.”

“This is the concept you can’t do without if you want to maximize the floor suction and the load on the machine”. “It is very clear that everyone is converging in that direction, and we are also moving development in that direction and hopefully we will see results soon.”

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“Today, mechanical elements like suspension layout are basically aerodynamic enablers,” he added. “It’s very difficult to create a performance advantage because you have a better suspension that makes the tires work better.”

“Aerodynamics are much more important than these mechanical elements, so when I talked about yaw sensitivity, it’s not because of the underlying layout of the car, it’s more about the fundamental design of the front wing, around the front tyres, the floor design, so they are the usual culprits from an aerodynamic point of view, rather than the suspension layout.

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