One of the best things about about the 2022 season for us nerds was seeing how the different teams went with different concepts. However by the end of the seasons most of the teams had gone with the Red Bull concept and it appeared like we’d quickly get to a concept convergence by all teams in 2023. Now while that is true in terms of sheer percentages, there are a couple of holdouts who haven’t gone down the Red Bull route, and from what we’ve heard, won’t be for 2023 either.
Ferrari [and therefore Haas]
One of the teams that we are confident, from everything we are hearing, will stick to the concept that they pioneered in 2022 is Ferrari. This makes sense, the concept worked. They were by far the fastest car at the start of 2022. Now that they’ve reportedly been running their engine on the dyno at full power for multiple race distances, it means that they’ve got the power to make up for any straight line speed. They’ve also reportedly gotten their chassis down on weight, and fixed some flaws in the tunnel with the bath tub scoops. This all should mean that a refined version of this concept will give Red Bull a run for their money, at least at the start of 2023.
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This also means that Haas will likely run the exact same concept going into 2023, as they are essentially a Ferrari customer team, in everything but name only. In fact, historically, they tried to enter as a team who would just buy Ferrari Chassis’ but the little issue of it being a constructor’s championship quickly put that to rest.
A more surprising note is that Mercedes is likely to run with it’s zero sidepod concept going into the 2023 season. If you’d asked me at Spa whether this was a good idea, I would have told you that from an aerodynamics standpoint to throw it out of the wind tunnel. Then we got to the end of the season, and there was some clear promise. Obviously, some of this was down to the fact that Red Bull had paused most upgrades and Ferrari had switched focus, but it still meant that obviously Mercedes weren’t giving up on the concept. Logically speaking, if they were changing philosophy for 2023 in terms of the sidepods, they wouldn’t have continued to bring upgrades so close to the end of the season.
On top of this, everything we’ve heard from our earwigs in the F1 technical community is that this concept is still in the wind tunnel. It’ll be interesting to see whether this was a mistake or not!