of course advantage. otherwise we wouldnt be talking about how tight williams rear end is, how compact redbull's rear package is, how huge xxxx's undercut is, or how bulky yyy's sidepod and rear-end oh that's going to be slow, etc etc.
Smaller side pods... is it really an advantage? Tires dictates the frontal projection area, so the car gets globally identical resistance as the last year? IS the flow between the two tires improved by the absence of side pods in between? ...
Everything that matters is the amount and quality of airflow at the upper diffuser. either smaller volume of sidepod, undercut, coanda exhaust, tunnel etc are all for the purpose, channeling more and cleaner air to upper diffuser. it's just that one feature isnt the sole critical factor.
It seems they could even lower the nose most likely thanks to the new sidepods, for lower cog at front to put more weight on tyres and make it work. Front instability and lack of overall performance in low-mid speed range is their major weakness last year (probably the worst of established teams in that aspect), so those changes on new car look to be to overcome it.