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Do Mercedes have a ‘Plan B’ car in reserve? ‘Giving their big idea one more go’

The eight-time F1 constructors’ world champions have so far stuck to their guns by retaining their bold ‘zero sidepod’ design on their modified W14 challenger. 

However, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has hinted at a plan to revise the unique sidepod concept during the 2023 F1 season. 

Sky Sports pitlane reporter Kravitz has claimed Mercedes are developing a backup concept similar to Red Bull and Ferrari’s philosophy which could be deployed half way through the season. 

“They’re giving their big idea, that was a failure last year, one more go,” Kravitz said.

“But I believe they have a ‘Plan B’ in production, and if they need to, they can go to a ‘Plan B’, which is the Red Bull or Ferrari style of doing things, in the middle of the season.

“At the moment they’re saying, look, we think we’ve got a proper handle on what went wrong last year. We still believe that our way – unique in the pit lane of having very slim sideboards – is the way to go aerodynamically.

“And anyway, they say most of the downforce is generated by the floor, which you can’t see, but they’re saying don’t expect anything too soon.

“I think if they went away without three or four wins in a season, they’d be disappointed.”

2009 F1 world champion and Sky Sports pundit Jenson Button admitted he was “surprised” Mercedes did not change their sidepods during the off-season. 

Asked why Mercedes haven’t already addressed the issue, Kravitz replied: “My reading of that was we’ve [Mercedes] have got more things coming online. 

“We’ve got developments of the European season and we think they’re going to work, but maybe the figures are very wrong eventually.”

After a torrid 2022, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are hoping the W14 will power them back into F1 title contention this year. 

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