Mercedes F1 team have endured a shocking start to the 2023 F1 season. The team’s struggles are synonymous with those they faced in 2022. They failed to cope with the introduction of the new technical directives, rendering them the third fastest on the grid. Their drivers have bemoaned the drivability of the W14 challenger. The team wanted to introduce major upgrades for the car at the Imola GP before it got canceled.
With the Monaco GP next in line, former driver-turned-pundit Jolyon Palmer has implored the Silver Arrows to delay their major upgrade package to the Spanish Grand Prix. He said, “If you crash, we might not be racing but we certainly won’t be racing the new part. That’s the thing about Monaco, it’s not the place to bring upgrades. The track is so different from anything else.”
He added, “There’ll all be running the car in a completely different configuration because it’s high downforce anyway. So far, we’ve only had low or medium downforce circuits, then you’re adding new components in and there’s the highest chance to crash of anywhere on the calendar and then you might just destroy them before you get the chance to race them.”
Palmer highlights the challenging nature of Monaco’s distinctive circuit. It presents difficulties for teams in accurately assessing the effectiveness of their upgrades. Reports indicate that Mercedes will proceed with their planned new package for the Monaco race. Nevertheless, Palmer argues that Lewis Hamilton and George Russell could potentially benefit from a delay in implementing the upgrade.
Mercedes are set to implement their major upgrades at Monaco
Initially, Mercedes had planned to introduce a significant overhaul of its W14 car at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. It was scheduled for last weekend. However, the cancellation of the Imola GP has led to a delay in the introduction of these upgrades. Despite the challenges of assessing new components on the tight street circuit, Mercedes are determined to proceed with its major update package for the Monaco GP.
The team maintains its commitment to implementing the upgrades despite the less-than-ideal conditions for evaluation. The street circuit of Monaco presents a higher risk of accidents. It increases the potential for damage to newly introduced components. Additionally, the bumpy layout, low-speed corners, and ever-changing track surface pose significant challenges in collecting crucial data on aerodynamic performance, making it exceptionally difficult.
The Monte Carlo streets pose several challenges. However, the team believes the new upgrades will provide a notable performance. It includes new sidepods, a revised floor, and a different front suspension. As a result, there is no apparent reason to consider delaying the introduction of these upgrades.
There is an additional factor to consider. It would be more labor-intensive for Mercedes to switch back to their older specification car compared to continuing with the new one.
The revised W14, specifically prepared for the Monaco race, has already been transported to Imola and will be directly sent to the upcoming event. This logistical aspect makes it more practical for the team to proceed with the planned upgrades rather than reverting to the previous configuration.
Tanuj is a motorsport content writer for FirstSportz from Bangalore. He is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science. He is an ardent Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen fan. Apart from religiously following Formula One every weekend, he is a passionate Real Madrid supporter, and is also his college football team's captain.
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