Formula 1

Mercedes bring sidepods to W14 in radical update for Monaco GP 2023

Iyssar Bin Yaseen

May 26 2023
Mercedes Sidepods Monaco GP 2023

The sidepods feature a big undercut to add a channel of airflow over the rear tyres and till the rear wing.

In a bid to narrow the performance deficit to runaway leaders Red Bull, Mercedes has introduced a revolutionary update to their W14 car for the highly anticipated Monaco GP 2023. For the race in the principality, the team has made a significant departure from their previous design by incorporating sidepods, a feature absent from the W13 and W14 in previous races.

The new updates also feature a different front suspension. There are wider and rounder inlets than the Red Bull and Ferrari inlets for the intake of air. More amendments have been made to the cooling.

Mercedes take their own sidepods direction with some inspiration

The new sidepods implemented by Mercedes take a slight deviation from the approach used by Red Bull Racing (RBR), showcasing the team’s determination to explore unique avenues for improvement. By deviating from the conventional sidepods design, Mercedes seeks to enhance airflow dynamics and mitigate the aerodynamic challenges that have plagued their season thus far.

While the W13 suffered with porpoising, the W14 has faced several challenges in qualifying, which include under-steer, tyre-warming issues and lack of traction. The sidepods could help in mitigating few of these problems, but only time will tell.

In contrast to RBR’s sidepods, Mercedes’ innovative iteration features a smaller profile, contributing to a reduction in drag and improved overall performance. This departure from established norms reflects the team’s unwavering commitment to unlocking untapped potential and narrowing the performance gap to their rivals.

With the introduction of these cutting-edge sidepods, Mercedes aims to bridge the gap to their formidable adversaries, Red Bull and Aston Martin, who have consistently outperformed them in recent races. The team remains steadfast in their belief that this transformative update will empower them to mount a formidable challenge for coveted victories.

A gamble that could go either way

Nevertheless, the decision to integrate these innovative sidepods represents a calculated risk for Mercedes. While they exude confidence in their design, the outcome is not immune to uncertainty. There exists the potential for adverse consequences that could hamper the car’s overall performance, creating further hurdles in Mercedes’ pursuit of triumph.

Notably, Mercedes have undertaken a comprehensive array of modifications to the W14, encompassing updates to both the front and rear wings. These strategic alterations aim to augment the car’s overall performance.

Nonetheless, the effectiveness of these new updates in catalyzing a turnaround for Mercedes remains uncertain and warrants close observation. The ultimate litmus test lies in their performance during practice sessions and qualifying rounds. Should these updates prove successful, it would serve as a telling indication that Mercedes is progressively mastering the intricacies of the prevailing regulations.

Updates not completely representative in Monaco

However, it is imperative to acknowledge that the Monaco Grand Prix presents a distinctive and formidable challenge divergent from most other races on the calendar. The narrow and tortuous confines of the circuit place a greater emphasis on the significance of downforce rather than sheer top speed. Furthermore, the unforgiving nature of the track leaves no room for error, further amplifying the complexity of the task at hand.

As they venture onto the demanding streets of Monaco, Mercedes aims to transcend their season-long struggles and harness the full potential of their reimagined design. The intricacies of this revered race will serve as the ultimate proving ground for Mercedes’ pursuit of excellence.

Against the backdrop of Monaco’s unforgiving track, notorious for its limited overtaking opportunities, the impact of the new sidepods on Mercedes’ race pace assumes paramount importance. Should these innovative sidepods amplify the car’s straight-line speed, Mercedes could potentially emerge as an indomitable force in the fiercely competitive Monaco circuit.

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