Credit: F1

In the wake of regulatory changes, Mercedes revamped the basic concept of W-series in 2022. The engineers back in Brackely collectively decided to eliminate the traditional sidepods from the W13, thus making it a zerodpod concept car. However, to much disappointment, the move backfired badly to push the team out of championship contention.

Not only did it affect the efficacy of the pace, but the zeropod concept also gave rise to intense bouncing and porpoising issues, which proved hazardous for the drivers. Interestingly, Mercedes carried along the same concept in 2023 as well, before eventually coming to realization mid-season. However, an F1 pundit has now criticized the team for ditching the zeropod concept abruptly.


F1 Analysts Claims Mercedes Never Meant To Have Sidepods On W14!

George Russell during the pre-season test. Bahrain, February 2023. Credit: Alamy

After being delusional for more than 1.5 years, Mercedes eventually came to the realization that their so-called revolutionary zeropod concept was working against them. Thus, during the Monaco Grand Prix this year, the team eliminated the concept to introduce bulging side pods, much like the ones you see on RB19. While it resulted in short-term gains, F1 pundit Anthony Davidson calls it the Silver Arrows’ biggest mistake of the season. In a recent Sky Sports F1 podcast, Davidson said that the W14 was never designed to have side pods in the first place. Thus, the mid-season replacement seems more of a cut-and-shut job. It was a desperate move from the Brackley-based team to opt for the traditional approach.

“It wasn’t designed from the ground up to look like this, to behave like this. So you’re fighting fires in many ways,” said Anthony Davidson. He believes that the change is keeping Mercedes from chasing Red Bull this season. Having said that, Davidson hoped that the team would learn from this year’s mistakes to come out stronger next season. Well, the pundit’s analysis isn’t completely false. While a team can bring in upgrades mid-season, one cannot possibly mess with the basic concept of the car. Perhaps the Silver Arrows should have stayed a little more patient to let the car settle in. It was a clear case of misjudgment from the Brackley-based outfit’s end, for which the drivers are paying the price. Nevertheless, the team still holds the second place in the constructors championship and could count that as a major win.

Silver Arrows Confirms Incoming W14 Upgrades!

Mercedes W14 Planet F1

While Mercedes has already turned the page on the 2023 season, they still remain committed to extracting the best of W14. As per the rumor mill, the Silver Arrows have already laid the groundwork on the W15 back in the factory and are fully focused on doing things right with the new machinery. But recently, the team’s head of strategy, Rosie Wait, confirmed more incoming upgrades to W14.

She said that the W14 could be enhanced in a lot of ways to make it faster and better for the team’s overall learning and understanding. By no means will Mercedes stop development work on W14 until the season ends. They already have set up upgrades scheduled. “The things we will learn from testing them this year will directly feed into the development of the W15,” added Wait.