Mercedes: W14 upgrades still worth it despite new F1 car direction in 2024

Mercedes insists there is still value in bringing further upgrades to its current Formula 1 car, despite plans for a fundamental redesign for its 2024 challenger.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

The German manufacturer has had a challenging 2023 campaign, with its W14 not having made the step forward that the squad anticipated.

It has been no match for the championship-winning Red Bull team, despite undergoing a change of design direction from the Monaco Grand Prix.

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The team has been open that for 2024 it will completely change concept, as it bids to unlock a dramatic step forward that it hopes can get it back in the fight for victories.

While a dramatic shift in direction for next year means that there is likely to be little carry over from the W14, that does not mean that Mercedes has abandoned working on efforts to improve its current car.

Team boss Toto Wolff has already revealed that a decent upgrade is being planned for the United States Grand Prix.

But although any new parts arriving for the W14 may not be taken on for next year, the team says there is still a great deal of learning about performance that will help next year’s design.

Speaking in the team’s regular post-race review video, Mercedes head of strategy Rosie Wait opened up on why it did not make sense for the team to simply abandon work on the W14.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“Whilst we will have to use the winter to make more fundamental developments to W15, there are plenty of things we can do with the current car which will both make it faster and aid our learning and understanding to develop next year's car,” she said.

“That's what we've already been doing and will continue to do. So, the new parts we bring to the track do both; hopefully add performance and make the current car go faster, but they are all specifically targeted around areas where we need to further our understanding.

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“The things we will learn from testing them this year will directly feed into the development of the W15. We also mustn't lose sight of the fact that we are in a tight battle for P2 with Ferrari and that position in the championship is really important to all of us. So, we have upgrades in the pipeline and will continue to be bringing them to the car.”

Speaking over the Japanese GP weekend, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the team was listening to its drivers in making some bold changes for 2024.

“We're certainly not clinging on to any concepts that we have had before,” he said. “We're very open-minded.

“We've had a pretty chastening couple of years, and we are a team that's working very hard to try and get back to the front."

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