Mercedes: Still 'plenty of things' we can do with W14

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Mercedes engineers are hard at work on the team's 2024 contender, but the Brackley squad has emphasized the continued importance of upgrading its current W14 design.

Mercedes initially carried over into 2023 its 'zero sidepod' concept from last season. But realizing that it had reached a dead end with the approach, it rolled out in Monaco a significantly revamped car that has since evolved as part of the team's development programme.

Although performance improved over the summer, allowing Mercedes to hold the runner-up spot in F1's Constructors' standings, its W14 is still no match for Red Bull's dominant RB19.

While the bulk of its resources are now channeled towards its future W15, a design that will follow an entirely new concept, Mercedes continues to implement updates on its current car for the purpose of defending its position in the championship against Ferrari but also with the objective of collecting valuable learnings that will hopefully benefit its all-new 2024 machine.

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In Mercedes' Japanese Grand Prix post-race review video, the team's head of strategy Rosie Wait explained the rationale behind the decision to not discontinue efforts on the W14.

"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," Wait said.

"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."

Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have repeatedly called on Mercedes to make wholesale changes for next year regarding the design concept of their future machine.

In Japan, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin made clear that the team is considering all feedback and suggestions from its drivers.

"Lewis and George together are always giving us feedback on where the weakness is," said Shovlin.

"And whilst they might be identifying different causes of it, we know that, fundamentally, the car doesn't have enough stability.


"We know that they don't have the confidence to just throw it into a high-speed corner, and not have some concern that the rear is going to slide more than they want and be a bit of a challenge.

"Whilst you might see different comments in the press, the two of them are very aligned on where the weaknesses are, and where we need to improve it. We can see the GPS from other cars and that all ties in. So, you can build a picture of where you need to develop.

"And we're certainly not clinging on to any concepts that we have had before. 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."

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