Mercedes bring two-pronged upgrade to Saudi Arabian GP as 2023 recovery begins
Mercedes have arrived at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix armed with a revised rear wing and floor as the team’s recovery from a poor start to the season begins.
The eight-time Constructors’ Champions had targeted a return to title-winning contention this season after being restricted to just a single victory in 2022, but suffered an eye-opening defeat in the season opener in Bahrain two weeks ago.
With George Russell and Lewis Hamilton qualifying six tenths adrift of the dominant Max Verstappen, Toto Wolff ordered sweeping changes to the W14 car with Mercedes bringing a second new low-drag rear wing in as many races to combat concerns over straight-line speed.
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Russell identified the floor as an area of weakness for Mercedes on Thursday in Jeddah and the team have responded by introducing an upgrade to this area of the car with the aim of improving diffuser performance.
The Mercedes upgrade was the main headline of the pre-practice show-and-tell session at the Saudi Arabian GP as rivals Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin also refuse to stand still in F1’s development race.
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Red Bull are building from a position of strength after Verstappen led a one-two finish in Bahrain and will run a track-specific rear wing, beam wing and rear wing endplate in Jeddah to meet the low-drag demands of the high-speed circuit.
Ferrari’s performance came under the microscope after a muted showing in Bahrain, where the SF-23 was heavy on tyre wear and the reliability gremlins of last season returned as Charles Leclerc retired late on from third place.
Leclerc will incur a 10-place grid penalty this weekend having already exceeded his control electronics pool for the season and tweaks to the Ferrari for Saudi Arabia are said to be more on the overall performance side.
A new front wing endplate and floor edge are expected to improve the car’s downforce and bring flow-conditioning benefits.
Aston Martin were the surprise package in Bahrain as Fernando Alonso converted the team’s pre-season potential into a podium finish at the season opener and the AMR23 will feature a different front wing, rear wing and beam wing in Jeddah in a track-specific move.
Changes to the other cars for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix read as follows:
Alpine: Beam wing
McLaren: Rear wing, diffuser
Alfa Romeo: Front wing, rear wing
Haas: Front wing, rear wing
AlphaTauri: Rear wing
Williams: Front wing, beam wing, rear corner, front corner, engine cover
The opening practice session in Jeddah is scheduled to start at 1630 local time with FP2 to begin at 2000.
The article Mercedes bring two-pronged upgrade to Saudi Arabian GP as 2023 recovery begins appeared first on Planetf1.com.