Mercedes has explained why it will continue to bring further upgrades to its 2023 Formula 1 car despite admitting it plans to press ahead with a concept change for next year.
After regressing to third last term upon the return to ground effect aerodynamics, Mercedes was quietly optimistic of returning back to title contention this season.
However, the team remains winless in 2023 and abandoned its ‘zeropod’ concept in the early stages of the year to revert to a more conventional bodywork solution in Monaco.
The German marque continues to insist its competitiveness has been hampered by the architecture of its launch-spec car, resulting in a scheduled switch of philosophy for next season to bridge the huge deficit to Red Bull.
But while any further updates to the W14 will not necessarily be transferred to next year, Mercedes Head of Strategy Rosie Wait insists that any new parts can still help improve the team’s development for 2024.
“Whilst we will have to use the winter to make more fundamental developments to W15, there are plenty of things we can do with the current car which will both make it faster and aid our learning and understanding to develop next year’s car,” she said on Mercedes’ Japanese Grand Prix review video.
“That’s what we’ve already been doing and will continue to do. So, the new parts we bring to the track do both; hopefully add performance and make the current car go faster, but they are all specifically targeted around areas where we need to further our understanding.
“The things we will learn from testing them this year will directly feed into the development of the W15. We also mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we are in a tight battle for P2 with Ferrari and that position in the championship is really important to all of us.
“So, we have upgrades in the pipeline and will continue to be bringing them to the car.”
Hamilton rued throughout the Japanese GP weekend that Mercedes was struggling with rear downforce compared to its rivals.
The Briton was adamant that he is applying pressure on the engineers to take on board his feedback of the team’s current car – and Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin confirmed it was remaining “open-minded” to both drivers’ requests.
“We’re certainly not clinging on to any concepts that we have had before,” Shovlin underlined. “We’re very open-minded.
“We’ve had a pretty chastening couple of years, and we are a team that’s working very hard to try and get back to the front.”