The German manufacturer has spent several months working on the major revamp of its 2023 challenger after deciding that it needed a new development path in terms of its concept. 

While the car is unlikely to be seen in its entirety before Friday, the first images of its new sidepods and suspension have highlighted a big departure. 

The tweaks have confirmed that the zero-pod concept that Mercedes pursued from the start of the ground effect era rules has been abandoned, in favour of a route more akin to what Aston Martin and Alpine have done. 

This takes the form of the Red Bull-style downwash sidepods but includes a channel on the inside that helps further help airflow. 

As well as the sidepod changes, Mercedes is introducing a revised floor and new front suspension – which has been spotted as well. 

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Beyond the changes bringing improved performance and downforce, one of the more critical characteristics that the team is chasing is making the car less of a handful for drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. 

Both have complained about the balance of the W14 being tricky at times, which mean they have less confidence in it – especially under braking. 

Mercedes has suggested that gains which come from making the drivers more comfortable should deliver a good step forward in lap time. 

Speaking ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff cautioned against a dramatic step forward in form for the upgrades but was clear that he hoped it would put the team in a better position over the long term. 

“It won't be a silver bullet; from my experience, they do not exist in our sport,” he said. “We hope that it gives the drivers a more stable and predictable platform. Then we can build on that in the weeks and months ahead.

“F1 is tough competition and a meritocracy. We are not where we want to be but there's no sense of entitlement. It's just about hard work to get us to the front.” 

Mercedes had originally intended to debut the upgrades at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but it had to abandon that plan after the Imola race was called off because of flooding in the region. 

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

2023-05-25T08:16:28Z dg43tfdfdgfd