- Mercedes will launch an upgrade of the W14 at Monaco
- The Silver Arrows launched the Mercedes W14 at the beginning of the year
- However, the W14 hasn’t lived up to expectations
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says a new car upgrade for the team to be used at the Monaco Grand Prix isn’t a direct ticket for victory.
The Silver Arrows launched Mercedes W14 at the beginning of the year hoping for a better season than 2022’s with the W13.
However, the W14 hasn’t lived up to expectations with its best being a second podium finish at the Australian Open Grand Prix.
All other podium finishes so far this season have seen Lewis Hamilton pick a fifth position due to Mercedes’ car design flaw.
Now, the new upgrade seems to have solved a downforce flaw that Hamilton raised earlier at the start of the season.
Mercedes planned to launch the upgrade at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Imola last weekend but it was postponed due to flooding.
Mercedes chose to move forward even though it is unusual for a team to choose to make a significant design upgrade at Monaco.
Wolff stated that Monaco will provide a good chance to learn about the upgrades.
The Mercedes boss maintains that the changes include a new front suspension as well as sidepod and floor revisions. These upgrades will appear in public for the first time at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The ‘zero-sidepod’ concept, which Mercedes pioneered when the new Formula 1 rules were introduced in 2022 has been shown to be ineffective.
Rival F1 team Red Bull has the sidepods albeit with a completely different approach to handling the airflow around the car.
Red Bull uses sidepods with a noticeable undercut to direct the air as smoothly and rapidly as possible to the back while also “sealing” the underfloor to guarantee the ground-effect venturi tunnels that produce downforce function as intended.
But, Mercedes is now doing away with this concept in a bid to enhance performance.
Wolff acknowledged that Monaco’s special characteristics pose a challenge in predicting how well the new design will perform.
The circuit is the slowest on the schedule and has a reputation for being narrow, winding, and bumpy.
With its civil structure, Wolff points out that it’s too early to draw conclusive findings on the upgrade.
He insists this is the first step in the development process which may not provide much feedback.
“It won’t be a silver bullet; from my experience, they do not exist in our sport. 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,” he told BBC Sport.
He added that F1 has stiff competition and while Mercedes is yet to get to the top, the team is putting time and effort to see this happen.
“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,” Wolf stated.
So far, in all five races this season, Red Bull has triumphed. Hamilton and fellow Mercedes driver George Russell are in fourth and sixth positions in F1 Championship.