Mercedes facing 'very difficult situation' regarding 2023 car concept

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Mercedes faces a "very difficult situation" deciding what concept to pursue with its 2023 car.

Back in pre-season, the Brackley-based team stunned the Formula 1 paddock when it debuted the 'zeropod' design on the W13.

Considered a potential game-changer back then, bouncing problems blighted the car in the first half of the season leaving Mercedes trailing the leaders.

And though the 'zeropod' concept isn't totally the blame for their lack of performance, the team is considering whether to change to a more conventional design next year.

“It’s a very difficult situation because now we obviously have a certain concept of a car,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff commented at Spa.

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“It’s not like we can experiment a lot this year and just simply dial stuff out and test. So whatever we decide for next year needs to be carefully evaluated because clearly our data doesn’t give us the results, and doesn’t correlate with the reality.

"We have massive swings in performance that we can’t really get on top of.

“In this very moment, to take a decision for next year, whatever it may be, like changing the concept dramatically, how can you be sure that that’s the better direction to go because clearly, we’ll be starting a little bit way back?

“It’s quite difficult to say what is the concept, is it the chassis in its current shape? What is that? Is it weight distribution? Is it where you can put the mechanical and aero balance? Is it the bodywork concept?

“All these different pillars of the car are evaluated and it could mean that some of that goes and some of that stays? And that’s what we’re looking at at the moment.”


During a difficult weekend in Belgium, Lewis Hamilton admitted he wouldn't miss the 2022 car after this season and indicated it was time for Mercedes to focus on 2023.

However, the team's problems extend beyond the aerodynamic concept with the W13 also considerably over the 798kg weight limit and all of this is taking place in the backdrop of F1's new budget cap era.

“We are massively overweight, which we haven’t been really able to dial out because we are trying parts on the car in order to solve our various issues. So we can’t afford that, full stop," Wolff noted.

“So what was aimed by introducing the cost cap absolutely hit the target. It is what they wanted: to achieve that the big teams can’t just throw money at it.”