Mercedes W14 McLaren MCL60

Arnab Bose

EXPLAINED: Why Mercedes Boss Toto Wolff Thinks W14 Is Still Handful Despite Woeful Performance?

Clearly, Team Mercedes W14 has not helped their drivers get a win yet in 2023. Initially, they struggled because they were stuck to the zero-side pod concept, and it did not help their cause. Mercedes had plans to introduce side pods from the start of the 2023 season, but the Brazilian GP victory last year made them change their minds. That victory gave them a false hope that they could win without side pods. But the opening Grand Prix in Bahrain this year gave them a clear indication that new side pods are necessary.

Hence, the Silver Arrows introduced new upgrades in Monaco. Despite that, they still have not won a race. However, they had a double podium in the Spanish Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton had his second P2 finish of the season in Barcelona. And later, in Montreal, Canada, and in Silverstone, England, the seven-time world champion finished at P3. That is why James Allison, the technical director, is still hoping to get better performance with the new front wing. However, despite the new front wing at the British GP, Lewis Hamilton lost to McLaren’s Lando Norris. And that is not a good sign for the team.


Mercedes Team Still Struggling With W14 Upgrades

Mercedes New Front Wing
Mercedes W14 New Front Wing Source:

Looks like team Mercedes’ desperation to win may even lead them to copy the RB19’s side pod design as McLaren did. Their Boss Toto Wolff was upset after the British Grand Prix because his team generally dominated the home circuit. But since last year, it has been different. According to Mercedes’ boss, the high speed was not impressive, and the W14 was struggling with traction on the exits compared to its competitors. Hence, the car is still a handful. But seeing McLaren’s progress, Wolff believes that there is hope if the team makes the right decision on the upgrades and the tracks.

Teams like Aston Martin and Ferrari took a step backward in Silverstone. However, McLaren’s surge to P2 proves that teams can jump up with the correct execution. Recently James Alison also spoke to Mercedes Debrief, mentioning that they hope for a better result in Hungary. According to Alison, the front wing should help the car maintain balance and improve performance around the slow range of the corners. He feels that the Hungary Grand Prix will present more slow corners, and it will help the new front wing on W14. The Mercedes front wing will be more effective on tracks that provide a more slow range of corners.

How Come MCL60 Got To Be Faster Than W14?

McLaren MCL60 Mercedes W14
Mercedes W14 McLaren MCL60 Source: PlanetF1

Mercedes has been introducing new upgrades since the Monaco Grand Prix and the latest in the British Grand Prix. They have added new side pods, front and floor suspension, and, lately, a new front wing. But what is concerning is that even then, McLaren has been faster than the Silver Arrows. Red Bull has been the fastest on the grid since last year. Nobody came close to them.

However, in Silverstone, Lando Norris of McLaren was only 3.7 seconds slower than Max Verstappen. Despite Hamilton’s relentless effort to overtake the McLaren driver, he had to settle for a P3 finish. Moreover, McLaren, Ferrari, and Aston Martin have been faster than Mercedes in Austrian Grand Prix, other than Red Bull. That’s why Toto Wolff mentioned that the team in second place will keep changing depending on who brings what upgrades and where.