(GMM) Mercedes is in the process of deciding the basic “concept” of its 2023 car.
It is of particular concern for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who has struggled arguably more than new teammate George Russell with the win-less current single seater.
“Right now my focus is on expressing what I want for the car next year, because development happens very quickly,” said Hamilton.
The Briton said designers have already decided on the major components of the car, including braking, front suspension and gearbox layout.
But the basic aerodynamic concept is still up for grabs, as Mercedes’ innovative ‘no sidepods’ idea was not followed by the more competitive Ferrari and Red Bull.
“You’d always say that the fastest car is the one that’s got the best concept,” said trackside engineering boss Andrew Shovlin. “So today that’s Red Bull.
“Where that goes into next year is difficult to say. And 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,” he added.
Red Bull technical director Pierre Wache, however, warned Mercedes that catching up will not simply be a case of copying the dominant car’s sidepod concept.
“I am not sure it’s the best or worst concept, I think it’s just one part of the puzzle,” he said.
“For sure if you develop your car around a certain concept and then change it, it will be difficult to find the benefit of it.”
Generally, most insiders agree that the all-new ‘ground effect’ regulations that came into force this year has improved the wheel-to-wheel racing.
As for bringing the field closer together, however, that is yet to occur.
“The budget limits will only really take effect after three to five years,” Haas boss Gunther Steiner told Laola1.
“Only then will the teams be closer together. Now, the financial differences are still simply too great.”