Mercedes has confirmed that it will arrive at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend with upgraded parts – however it asserts that they won’t be “game changers”.
The Brackley-based squad endured a difficult opening round to the 2023 campaign in Bahrain earlier this month, unable to produce front-running pace.
For the second consecutive year, Mercedes doesn’t appear to have a title-contending package.
Red Bull took a commanding 1-2 finish, while Mercedes was also out-paced by Ferrari and Aston Martin in race trim.
Team boss Toto Wolff says that the squad is excited by the challenge ahead of it.
“Our performance in Bahrain wasn’t where we want it to be,” he said. “But this is the position we find ourselves in and it is already full steam ahead on the car, understanding it and working to get it in a better place.
“That’s an exciting challenge for all of us.
“Since Bahrain, we have had open and honest discussions from which we started to plan our fight back. In the short term, leaving no stone unturned in the search for performance.
“In the longer term, focusing our development to determine how we get to the front. I’ve already felt the energy and determination in the factory and know that will continue moving forward.”
Wolff has already conceded defeat over Mercedes ‘zero sidepod’ concept, which turned heads when it broke cover last year.
The team will begin to bring upgrades in an attempt to rectify its pace this weekend, however Wolff says that the modifications will not deliver a large jump in performance.
“Anything can happen in motor racing, so we’ll be working in Jeddah to maximise every part of our performance, chasing every point, every position, and every millisecond,” he said.
“That’s one of the huge strengths of our driver line-up with Lewis and George. We are racers and giving everything we’ve got, every time we go on track.
“This weekend in Saudi Arabia we will learn more about W14, its characteristics and its limitations.
“It provides a very different test to Bahrain, and it will be interesting to see how the car reacts.
“We are bringing some small developments to the car: they won’t be game changers, but they can start moving us in the right direction.
“And we’ll be pushing as hard as we can to create opportunities, and hopefully will give us a better account of ourselves than in Bahrain.”