Revealed: Mercedes unveil new upgrades after ditching 'zero-pod' design for Monaco GP
After two months spent beavering away back in Brackley, Mercedes will finally put their new, radically-revised W14 through its paces in practice in Monaco on Friday
The team have warned fans not to expect too much straight away, but that seems a forlorn hope.
W14 sidepods before upgrade
W14 sidepods after upgrade
Pictures of the upgrades began appearing on social media as soon as they showed up in the paddock on Thursday morning, with fans eagerly devouring the images.
As expected, Mercedes have ditched the ‘zero-sidepod’ concept they debuted when new design regulations were introduced last season, and with which they controversially decided to persevere for the 2023 campaign.
As well as fuller sidepods, there are major changes to the front suspension and to the floor, although the latter will not be visible to prying eyes unless Mercedes happen to crash in Monaco and the car is craned away.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff warned earlier this week there was no “silver bullet” as they attempt to close the gap to Red Bull – Mercedes are already 128 points behind in the constructors’ championship after just five races - and to expect a bedding-in period. And both of his drivers repeated that note of caution on Thursday when speaking to the media.
George Russell stressed that Monaco was a “one-of-a-kind circuit” and said Mercedes would not read too much into the performance of the updates this weekend.
The revised W14 was meant to make its debut in Imola last week only for deadly floods to hit the region and force the cancellation of that race.
“There are always outliers in teams who overperform around a track like Monaco and teams who underperform around Monaco," Russell said. "But ultimately, we don’t design a car to be at its peak in Monaco. “So we just need to get through the weekend and take a review once we get to Barcelona [next week] and then go from there.”
Lewis Hamilton, who like Russell has already tried out the new car in the simulator at Brackley, did say he was encouraged by what he was seeing. “Last year we were a little bit lost in terms of how to fix the issue,” the seven-time world champion said. “Now I feel the team know exactly where to go and how to get there.”