Mercedes will not rule out abandoning the F1 sidepod configuration after the Spanish Grand Prix.

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© F1 2022

The German manufacturer is battling to overcome the porpoising issues that have plagued the W13 from the beginning of the season, leaving the team unable to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull.

While the team continues to seek answers, it considers the next Formula One event in Barcelona as a pivotal moment for its next moves.

Having conducted preseason testing at the track with its conventional sidepod launch spec, the Spanish Grand Prix will provide a wonderful chance to examine the behaviour and potential of the various designs.

Mercedes believes a decision must be made soon as to whether to continue with the 'zero-pod' approach or to try something else, given the modest progress made so far this year.

Wolff responded, "Well, I wouldn't rule anything out, but we need to give all our personnel the benefit of the doubt," when asked by Autosport if it could rule out reverting to the launch spec mindset if Barcelona proves it to be the best approach.

They have created excellent race cars in the past, and we feel this is the way to proceed. Barcelona is unquestionably going to be a period when we can link what we observed in February and collect further data.

It's physics, not mysticism, therefore you must dissect the evidence. However, I'm angry that you keep repeating the same thing about obtaining data and conducting tests.

Mercedes wants to learn whether the theoretical performance advantages of the present "zero-pod" solution can be realized in practice at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Having the data from running there, compared to testing, will allow it to determine if the previous concept, which theoretically creates less downforce, is in fact superior in the real world.

Focus is shifting to the possibility that the Mercedes zero-pod design may have resulted in unforeseen effects by exposing more of the floor, which has left the vehicle more susceptible to porpoising.

Wolff stated, "If you walk through the grid, you will see that our floor edges protrude far further than those of our competitors. This expands the breadth of its potential instability in a distinct manner.

I believe that is where our concepts diverge. Clearly, the Barcelona launch vehicle is significantly slower on paper, but we must determine how to make the present car more predictable for the drivers.'

Mercedes does not yet know the answer to this issue, but Wolff is adamant that after Barcelona, the team will need to choose its future course.

He stated, "I believe we are still dedicated to the existing concept, and you must be as well." 'If you do not believe and you give the other candidate a 50% probability, you must switch immediately.

We adhere to the existing conception. We are not comparing our taste to that of the neighboring woman. It is still of high quality.

'As a matter of fact, we must determine where one notion went wrong before deciding to transition to a new one. What are the concept's positive and negative attributes? This is a question to which only you can reply.

I would advise us to find a solution after Barcelona, as that is the only correlation we have. And by that time, we will look in the mirror and wonder, 'Did we get it wrong or not?'