Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

F1 tech review: Mercedes takes design U-turn to beat Ferrari

Mercedes initially ploughed on with its radical zeropod concept, but then quickly decided to overhaul the W14 to establish a performance baseline for a new design direction in 2024.

Mercedes W14 front detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. Born in Genoa, Italy, Giorgio has covered the F1 World Championship since 1969, producing thousands of illustrations that have been reproduced in the world’s most prestigious motor racing publications.

This resulted in a large-scale update arriving in Monaco with further adaptations being implemented throughout the remainder of the season.

Let’s take a detailed look at some of the car’s finer details in full, and how that big development programme was rolled out to overtake Ferrari for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Mercedes W13 and W14 side comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W13 and W14 side comparison

A comparison of the W13 and W14, showing how the zeropod’s inlet had been pushed back for 2023.


Mercedes W14 brake detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 brake detail

A look at the front brake assembly without the drum in place gives us a glimpse of the collar used to hold some of the internal fairings in place.


Mercedes W14, floor detail

Mercedes W14, floor detail

A close up of the forward portion of the W14’s floor, including the mini-scroll section with a row of vortex generators housed on it and a perforated Gurney arrangement above it, while aft of that is the taller scroll section of the edge wing with a divisible strake on the surface.


Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Beneath the covers of the W14 we’re able to see how the radiators and ancillaries are package around the power unit and sidepods.


Mercedes W14 steering wheel detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 steering wheel detail

The back of the Mercedes steering wheel shows a single wishbone paddle gearshift lever at the top and an elongated single paddle clutch arm runs across the bottom, which is fitted with a finger socket to help modulate the release.


Mercedes W14 front wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 front wing

Mercedes continued to employ a variation of the open-ended front wing flap and endplate juncture in 2023, although it also included two new winglets above the rear elements.


Mercedes W14 middle wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 middle wing detail

Having pushed the zeropod’s inlet further back, the side impact spar (SIS) wing fairing became more of an independent surface.


Mercedes W14 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 detail

The W14’s rear brake assembly without the drum in place allows us to see how the caliper is fed cool air by its fairing.


Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Another view of the scrolled edge wing design, which notably has metal support brackets that are positioned and shaped to improve their aerodynamic output.


Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 technical detail

A close up of the SIS fairing, the wing mirror, vortex generators and slatted mirror stalk.


Mercedes W14 rear detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 rear detail

A look at the W14’s diffuser, with the mouse house visible in the sidewall and the trumpeted upper corner. Also note the stepped lower edge on the rear brake duct winglet.


Mercedes W14 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 detail

A close up of the bib wing, with the flexible material used to allow that section to move up and down when it comes into contact is also a notable feature.


Mercedes W14 front detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 front detail

A massive update arrived at the Monaco Grand Prix, which not only resulted in the W14 having a more ‘traditional’ sidepod design thereafter but also saw the upper wishbone realigned.


Mercedes W14 sidepods winglet detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 sidepods winglet detail

The lead arm on the upper wishbone was raised (inset), while a new winglet could be found on the W14’s floor (blue arrow) and the SIS fairing’s hanging vane was also modified (red arrow).


Mercedes F1 W14 car detail

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mercedes F1 W14 car detail

The floor edge wing was also modified, with additional strakes added to the scrolled section's surface.


Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Small cooling gills were also added to the sidepod’s shoulder when required.


Mercedes W14 button view

Mercedes W14 button view

An off for Lewis Hamilton at the Monaco Grand Prix led to the W14 being craned away from the circuit and provided us with a rare glimpse of the underfloor, which is full of complex geometries.


Mercedes W14 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 detail

A much larger cooling gill panel was installed for the Spanish Grand Prix to help keep temperatures under control.


Mercedes W14 nose and front wing detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 nose and front wing detail

A rare glimpse of the nose and front wing assembly from beneath.


Mercedes W14 new front wing comparison, British GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 new front wing comparison, British GP

A new front wing arrived at the British Grand Prix and featured revisions to the mainplane and wing tips in the outer section, a more cambered endplate design and a more aerodynamically shaped slot gap separator bracket.


Mercedes W14 front wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 front wing detail

A top-down overview of the new front wing design, with most of the details changed at the outboard end of the wing.


Mercedes W14 rear wing end plate

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 rear wing end plate

Mercedes introduced an open-ended endplate variant at the Hungarian Grand Prix, altering the size and shape of the rear endplate cutout.


Mercedes W14 suspension detail, Hungarian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 suspension detail, Hungarian GP

The lead arm of the front suspension’s upper wishbone was modified again for Hungary, with a dipped profile added to the fairing (red arrow).


Mercedes W14 sidepods detail, Belgian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 sidepods detail, Belgian GP

The vortex generating fins and mirror stalk slat were removed for the Belgian Grand Prix to reduce drag, while the scrolled section of the edge wing saw the strakes attached to it reduced from three to two.


Mercedes W14 rear wing comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 rear wing comparison

Mercedes tried different rear wing configurations at the Belgian Grand Prix to find the right balance for their drivers, with an infill panel for the endplate and no Gurney on the trailing edge of the upper flap employed on George Russell’s car, while Hamilton’s car was set up with a lower downforce wing, endplate cutout and a Gurney on the trailing edge.


Mercedes W14 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 detail

The scrolled section of the edge wing at the Dutch Grand Prix, with just two strakes dividing the surface.


Mercedes W14 DRS

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 DRS

A close up of the DRS mechanism on the W14.


Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

Mercedes W14 technical detail

A single element beam wing and the endplate infill panels were paired with a lower downforce rear wing configuration for the Italian Grand Prix.


Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 technical detail

This shot of the W14 without the bodywork in place gives a chance to see the internal stays used to prevent the floor from flexing.


Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

Mercedes W14 technical detail

Mercedes added a swage line to the lower half of its rear wing endplate at the Japanese Grand Prix.


Mercedes W14 floor - Austin (Old spec inset)

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 floor - Austin (Old spec inset)

Mercedes revised the scrolled section of the edge wing once again, at the United States Grand Prix, with tufts also employed during practice to capture some real-world information on the new parts performance.


Mercedes W14 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 technical detail

There were also changes to the leading edge of the floor and the roof of the tunnel thereafter.


Mercedes W14 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes W14 detail

A close up of the open-ended and metal supported rear wing tip section on the W14.


Here’s the list of the components that Mercedes listed as having changed in the car presentation document prior to each race.

  • Saudi Arabia
      • Rear wing
      • Floor fences
  • Australia
      • Edge wing strakes to underside
  • Azerbaijan
      • RWEP
      • FBD exit increase
      • RBD fence (lower section reduced)
      • Front suspension fairing (lower wishbone)
  • Miami
      • N/A
  • Monaco
      • Front suspension (overhaul in position)
      • Floor fences
      • Sidepods
      • Engine cover
      • Rear wing
      • RBD winglets
  • Spain
      • Mirror vanes removed
      • Diffuser
  • Canada
      • Removed sidepod wing, winglet
  • Austria
      • N/A
  • Great Britain
      • Front wing
      • FWEP and diveplane
  • Hungary
      • FWEP diveplane lifted
      • Front suspension fairing
      • Rear wing
  • Belgium
      • Sidepod inlet
      • Engine cover (sideview coke tube chamber increased)
      • Underfloor volume distribution
      • Rear wing
  • Netherlands
      • Floor edge
      • Mirror stay
      • Beam wing
  • Italy
      • Rear wing
      • Beam wing
  • Singapore
      • FBD inlet
  • Japan
      • RWEP swage line
  • Qatar
      • N/A
  • USA
      • Floor body
      • Floor edge and edge wing
  • Mexico
      • N/A
  • Brazil
      • N/A
  • Las Vegas
      • N/A
  • Abu Dhabi
    • N/A

 

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Alonso: F1’s ground effect cars can be ‘confusing’
Next article Norris: Smart thinking not friendship behind Verstappen F1 defence approach

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe