Mercedes revamps sidepods as part of W14 F1 upgrade

Mercedes has revealed revised sidepods ahead of Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix, as it chases further gains with its W14 car. 

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Having abandoned the zeropod concept at the Monaco Grand Prix, the team has pressed on with optimising its new development direction as it has brought a raft of upgrades for the Spa-Francorchamps weekend. 

In the FIA technical submission documents Mercedes sent to the FIA, it outlined key changes it has made to its car. 

The most visible difference is in the sidepods area, which has been a major focus for the team since its Monaco upgrade. 

One of the eyebrow-style vortex generators sat atop the SIS fairing was removed as part of the previous overhaul, but it has been deleted entirely this time around as it was clearly not good for the overall airflow in this region of the car. 

Meanwhile, the shape and size of the sidepod inlet has been revised, with the boxier design cast aside in favour of a more cylindrical shape. This also improves engine cooling and allows fewer louvres for a given cooling level.  

The changes clearly have a bearing on the airflow’s passage around this portion of the car, with the undercut altered quite significantly as a consequence. 

This has a knock-on effect on how the tyre wake generated by the front tyre is managed.

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Jon Noble


There’s also a considerable difference in the rear portion of the sidepod, with a deeper curvature present on the flank that will manage how the airflow behaves at the rear of the car. This design helps improve onset flow to the rear of the car, notably, the rear wing which gains downforce and drag 

The downwash ramp section of the upper surface also appears to have a more abrupt drop-off towards the floor.  

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This is categorised by the metal floor support spar which now intersects the outer wall of the ramp section of the sidepod but is then visible once more before meeting with the engine cover. 

As expected, given the relationship in performance between the sidepods and floor, there have also been changes made to the floor’s edge, with the number of flow control strakes housed in the scrolled edge wing down from three to two. 

There’s also a new lower downforce rear wing on the menu for Mercedes, with both the mainplane and upper flap treated to a redesign in order to reduce the amount of downforce and drag being generated, in order to better meet the demands of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

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