Toto Wolff's Lewis Hamilton move in Bahrain stunned FIA with teams 'exceeding imagination'

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Prior to heading to the Middle East, teams had undergone a first round of testing in Barcelona in February, and ahead of the opening Grand Prix this weekend one of the major talking points has been the contrasting approach to sidepod designs. In particular, Mercedes are sporting a radical slimline solution on Lewis Hamilton’s car, a design which initially prompted complaints from Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

He branded the design “illegal” and argued the Silver Arrows had gone “a step too far,” but has since backed down from the claims. However, the design has continued to turn heads, and Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s head of single-seater matters, admitted that, while leeway was left for teams, certain approaches surprised him.

“If you asked me whether I expected to see the variety of the solutions that teams produced in the sidepods, then no, that exceeded what I was imagining, I must say,” he told motorsport.com. However, Tombazis added that it was the area where regulations weren’t so stringent.

JUST IN: McLaren handed major boost ahead of season opener as Daniel Ricciardo recovers from Covid



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