Despite being delayed, the Mercedes upgrades have been revealed at Monaco. As promised, the zero-sidepod concept has been done away with for a sidepod concept more in line with that of Red Bull’s suggesting a wider convergence amongst the grid.
While the sidepods are more in line with Red Bull they have more in common with Aston Martin and Alpine’s sidepods with its downwash ramp-style configuration with a less severe undercut than the Red Bull. At the front of the sidepod, both the SIS fairing have been retained but now features a more conventional hooped shaped inlet and undercut.
The sidepods are just the most obvious change, but they are by no means the only or most important changes. The front suspension has been adjusted with the inboard end of the lead arm of the upper wishbone in a much higher position on the chassis. This will hopefully lend to more under braking and possibly run lower, something that previous configurations seriously struggled with.
Mercedes' front suspension redesign is significant too:— 📈Formula Data Analysis (@FDataAnalysis) May 24, 2023
-The upper wishbone is now sloped downwards➡️Much higher anti-dive (the car will pitch more under braking, so it could be run lower!)
-Camber gain seems smaller than before➡️Better braking but worse low-speed understeer?🤔… pic.twitter.com/UiY40iR2NT
What we cannot see is the new floor, arguably the most important aspect of the aerodynamics of F1 cars. It’s likely we won’t know anything about the floor until we see the W14 in action at a few races.
It must be stressed once again that these upgrades are not an immediate solution. There is no “silver bullet” to quote team principal, Toto Wolff.
Lewis Hamilton has also suggested to fans to temper their expectations as “it’s not like I have a one second upgrade coming, which is what I need. But it’s something. It’s a step in the right direction, hopefully, for us to really be able to make progress.”