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Mercedes black livery switch driven by F1 weight saving

The decision by Mercedes to revert to an all-black Formula 1 livery for 2023 has been driven by a desire to chase maximum weight saving.

Mercedes W14

The German car manufacturer revealed its new W14 at Silverstone on Wednesday morning, with the team electing this season to abandon its famous silver colours once again.

But a close examination of the car showed that, unlike in 2020 and 2021 when the squad painted its cars black as a show of support for diversity, this time the situation is very different.

Rather than the car being painted black in its entirety, much of it is unpainted and run as raw carbon fibre.

The upper section of the nose and the engine cover feature matte black paint, but almost every lower element of the car, including the wings, are unpainted.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff did not hide from the fact that the decision to be so bold in not painting its car has been driven by a bid to save extra mass.

“We were overweight last year,” he said. “This year we have tried to figure out where we can squeeze out every single gramme. So now, history repeats itself.

“You will see that the car has some raw carbon bits, along with some that are painted matte black.

“Of course, when we changed the livery in 2020 the main driving factor was to support the diversity and equality causes which are always close to our heart. The colour black became part of our DNA at that point, so we are pleased to return to it.”

Mercedes W14

Mercedes W14

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

The weight saving on the paint adds to the fact that the W14 is a significantly lighter chassis, and features revised front suspension geometry, cooling system adjustments and refined aerodynamics.

Technical director Mike Elliott explained that a lot of the work done on the W14 was effort that could not be introduced last year because of cost cap constraints.

“We have done all the things that we wanted to do with the W13 last year but weren’t able to because of resource constraints or because our focus was elsewhere fixing other issues,” he said.

F1 teams battled hard last year to get down to the 798kg weight limit, and many were well over it throughout the campaign.

Heading in to 2023, there had been plans to reduce the weight to 796kg but this has been abandoned following discussions with teams and the FIA.

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