Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott is fully focused on the German team’s W13 car, but admits the sculpted sidewalls on the Red Bull RB18 are worth a look. With an abundance of post-run programs requiring analysis after the completion of the first pre-season tests in Barcelona, the teams had little time to study in detail the designs and innovations of their rivals.
Mercedes was no exception as it is with its driver lineup of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, preoccupied with the development of their car, which was at the top of the standings when it comes to timing. However, the technical director of Silver Arrows admitted that the ‘outlines’ of the Red Bull RB18 car still caught his attention.
“To be completely honest, I didn’t spend an awful lot of time watching other cars. We were just trying to solve our problems. The guys at the factory are working harder on it, ”Elliot said. “The most visually different thing is the side page that Red Bull came up with.
(It seems) interesting - we will go and think about it, "he admitted. The new Formula 1 rules, despite their prescriptive nature, have generated a number of design ideas or interpretations. There is a clear contrast in terms of side design between several teams.
Elliott explained the criteria that guided the efforts of his engineering department in this area and why Mercedes opted for a narrower sidewall solution. "I guess there are different concepts," he added. "Taking into account what is happening with this policy, we are completely changing the way we manage."
“It was done to make it better to overtake. Different teams had different approaches: some teams opted for a large, wide body, trying to control turbulence from wheel rotation. ”
“We went for a narrower solution and‘ packed ’the car so we could do it.
The reality is that the cars will develop a lot from now until the first race, and you will see different solutions emerge. ” “In terms of the details of what aerodynamics does, it’s probably all about controlling turbulence from wheel rotation while the car is in motion,” Elliot explained.
After getting acquainted with their Barcelona cars, the teams will continue preparations for the second pre-season tests (March 10-12), where everyone is expected to present upgraded designs. Mercedes will be among those to implement aerodynamic upgrades, and special attention will be focused on tackling the bounce that has emerged in Barcelona.
"I think we will see some changes in Bahrain, and throughout the season," Russell said. "I am sure that the development slope for everyone will be quite fast. Whoever does it the fastest and most efficiently will be at the top by the end of the season. "