Mercedes debuts radical new sidepods in Bahrain testing

The Mercedes W13 in Bahrain

Mercedes has landed in Bahrain with an all-new sidepod design ahead of the second and final Formula 1 pre-season test.

The revised W13 features dramatically smaller sidepods than had been seen in Barcelona with a radical redesign of the car’s bodywork.

In Spain, Red Bull caught the eye of observers for its aggressively undercut sidepod design.

However, Mercedes looks to have gone a step further still and almost eliminated the radiator housing all-together.

A bulge does remain, consistent with where the side-impact protection is, but otherwise the solution boasts a narrow inlet and sloping rear section.

There are also two sets of cooling gills on the car; one on the top of the sidepod and the other on the side of the engine cover.

Having won the last eight consecutive constructors’ world championships, the new regulations introduced this year offer an opportunity for a dramatic shakeup in the pecking order.

Mercedes showed well enough in Barcelona but left many of the opinion that it was holding much in reserve as F1 track action got underway for 2022.

It recorded the second highest mileage across the opening three days, just over 1800km of running, and headed the final day with a one-two for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

However, those times were set on the softer C5 compound tyres. Ferrari was the benchmark across the test, Charles Leclerc 0.7s slower than Hamilton on the final day in Spain, but on the C3 tyres instead.

Testing got underway in Bahrain today and runs through until Saturday. Follow along with all the F1 pre-season testing action with Speedcafe.com’s Mobil 1 Live Updates.

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