Mercedes says it will bring “visible changes” to its W14 car in the next few races while more radical developments will appear later in the season as it attacks its performances issues head-on.
In pre-season testing in Bahrain, the Brackley squad rolled out what it believed was a gainful evolution of its 2022 design, a car that had finished last year’s campaign on a high note with a win in Brazil, thanks to George Russell.
But last weekend at Sakhir, Mercedes’ new-spec machine was no match for Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin in qualifying and even less so on race day.
The W14’s worrying deficit was such that it led team boss Toto Wolff to finally recognize that the basic concept of it ‘zero sidepod’ design was flawed and would not allow Mercedes to be competitive in 2023.
As the team finds itself in crisis mode, a strong response is necessary. Wolff had already alluded to a reprofiling of the W14’s sidepods as being in the works. But more radical changes are also on their way according to Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.
“People have tended to use the word concept when they mean the sidepod design,” explained Shovlin in Mercedes post-race debrief on YouTube.
“Toto had said recently that we’re looking at a revision that is going to come along in the next few races anyway.
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