The first images of the new upgrades Mercedes that will debut at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix have been revealed, which include the expected change in bodywork.
Despite an underwhelming 2022 campaign that saw the German marque slip to third in the Constructors’ Championship and only being able to secure a solitary win, Mercedes opted to retain faith in its revolutionary zero sidepods concept for the second year of the latest technical regulations.
However, a disappointing opening qualifying session of the year in Bahrain prompted team boss Toto Wolff to issue that a change in car direction was required for the Brackley-based operation to become a credible championship threat again.
Wolff had already confirmed that Mercedes would be introducing a substantial upgrade package consisting of bodywork alterations, which included revised sidepods, as well as a new front suspension and a new floor to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
But with the event being cancelled last weekend due to excessive flooding in the region, this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix is the first chance Mercedes will get to run the updates that the former World Champions hope will transform its flailing fortunes.
The change to the sidepod construction is the most notable change, with Mercedes switching direction from possessing a minimal sidepod configuration to a bigger, downwash-style version. The team has also developed wider, more rounded inlets more in line with what the rest of the field runs.
However, the Silver Arrows have followed a different direction to Red Bull in the sense there is no extreme undercut interpretation, while the top surface of the structure is more reflective of the creative solutions Alpine and Aston Martin invested in.
Aside from the drastic alteration to the sidepod structure, images have also surfaced on Thursday of the new front suspension the W14 will run from Monaco.
Mercedes has insisted that aside from chasing outright performance gains with the updates, improving the drivers’ confidence in the car will be key to delivering a step forward in lap time and reducing the huge deficit to Red Bull.
Despite the raft of changes, Wolff has already warned that the new parts won’t provide a “silver bullet” that can enable it to immediately challenge the dominant Red Bull side, who have won all five of the opening races in 2023.
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