Mercedes dismiss drawing-board return
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 15th February, 2023 - 9:36pm
Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott has revealed why the team opted not to return to the drawing board in designing its W14.
Last year’s W13 proved to be a wretched car the team could not wait to see the back of as Mercedes struggled to adapt to the new aerodynamic regulations.
It resulted in a car that was subjected to violent porpoising and bouncing, leaving drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in pain on occasion.
Although strides were made over the course of the campaign, culminating in Russell’s victory in the penultimate race of the year in São Paulo, there were always suggestions Mercedes was considering changing its concept.
One of the primary areas was its ‘zero sidepod’ chassis, which was in stark contrast to the more bulbous designs from Red Bull and Ferrari.
Mercedes keep the faith
But in unveiling the W14 E Performance, Mercedes has opted to remain faithful to the core concept of the W13.
“If you look at periods we had huge success, it’s easy to take the car you’ve got and just build on that,” said Elliott.
“At times last year, we were questioning ourselves and saying, ‘Have we made a major mistake? Do we need to change what we’re fundamentally doing?’
“But we know if we sort of tear it all up and start again, you know you’re going to start further backward, so it’s about making those right decisions.
“Although we had problems with the car last year, there was also a lot of goodness in the car, a lot of things that did work for us.
“So you have to be careful not to just throw it all away and start again.”
As to whether the car will bounce this year, Elliott added: “Well, the easy answer is I hope not.
“When you look at the learning we took from last year, look at the tools that we put together, hopefully, we’ve got all the right metrics in place to understand what we need to do to the car so it doesn’t bounce, so fingers crossed.”
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