As the second F1 pre-season test session got underway in Bahrain, Mercedes caused something of a stir with a radical take on the sidepod design of its W13.
Sidepods are one of the most visually differing areas of the 2022 specification cars from team to team, reflecting the various approaches to aerodynamic concepts across the grid. In the case of Mercedes, its design appears to be a particularly creative interpretation of what constitutes the ‘sidepod’.
There are three key features that standout in the design: the encapsulation of the upper side impact crash structure in a sculpted shroud, the use of a tall, narrow cooling inlet, set low down on the car, and an outer sidepod edge that flares out to the floor, rather than being undercut.
As aerodynamicist Kyle Forster explains in the video below, the crash structure layout (and its attached mirror) takes advantage of very specific wording in the rules relating to how elements such as the mirror support are defined as well as the volumes dictating the geometry of the sidepod when sectioned on different planes. The same applies to the outward flaring shape of the sidepod.