‘No sidepods’ look could change in 2023 – Wolff

Mercedes is sticking with its ‘no sidepods’ concept for the start of the 2023 season – but that could soon change according to team boss Toto Wolff.

After a difficult 2022, the Brackley based team on Wednesday revealed and debuted at Silverstone its slightly modified new car – now in all carbon black.

It harks back to Mercedes’ black 2021 car, but at that time it was painted in support of anti-racist measures rather than now in mainly raw carbon.

“This time we tried to find out where we can get rid of any extra grams,” Wolff said.

The new car still has the ‘no sidepods’ concept, but Wolff insisted what was revealed on Wednesday and briefly driven by George Russell could soon change.

“When we get through the first few races, things will change a bit,” Wolff said.

Lewis Hamilton hailed the team’s “brave” move in sticking with a concept that was beaten by both Red Bull and Ferrari last year.

“Most of the teams are moving to the Red Bull concept except, I think, for Ferrari,” he said.

“We’re going into a new championship with a car that is similar to last year because a number of elements are so difficult to change. But I have confidence in our engineers and we will stay true to our concept.”

There were rumours of a minor engine problem during the initial ‘shakedown’, while Russell would not be drawn on whether the porpoising problem is now solved.

“We’ll see about that next week,” he said.

Meanwhile, with his contract set to expire this year, Hamilton insisted he is keen to sign a new one – with Wolff insisting the seven time world champion’s age (38) is no barrier.

“I’m thinking about Tom Brady – still on the pitch at 44, 45,” the team boss said.

“We have had a first (contract) chat and we will find the right time for more.”

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