Mercedes’ gamble of keeping intact W13’s aero concept has terribly backfired on the team. This year’s W14 is much more troubled than ever before. The engineers back at the factory seem clueless as they desperately look for solutions. For starters, the Silver Arrows dropped their unconventional idea of zero side pods and installed huge side pods during Monaco Grand Prix.
In the next few race weekends, Mercedes introduced another set of fresh upgrades and tweaked the floor, which further enhanced the performance of the W14. However, the machinery is still wrecked, unstable, and highly unpredictable. Meanwhile, as the season went into the summer break earlier this month, the Brackley-based team has figured out their primary issue and is apparently working on the same.
Mercedes James Allison Wants To Provide A Stable Car To Its Drivers
The ongoing summer break is a crucial period for a struggling Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team. While they remain second in the constructors championship, the team is far behind the Red Bulls. To close out the gap, the engineers in Brackley are working diligently to uncover solutions. Meanwhile, the team’s technical director, James Allison, provided a few insights on the team’s future upgrade plan. He said that the Silver Arrows wants to put more downforce on the aero map to make the W14 more stable. Allison added that the car is too reactive on the initial turn, which makes the drivers extremely uncomfortable. While the car is unstable on the turn, it becomes annoyingly dead when it reaches the apex, which is frustrating as the drivers are constantly complaining about it.
The W14’s current dynamics are exactly the opposite of how Mercedes wants it to be. They want to reverse it, and it is exactly the kind of problem the engineers are currently working on. The car has to be more stable on the turn and a little reactive on the apex. That is certainly the ideal goal. Whether Silver Arrows manages to attain this goal, this season remains to be seen. Having said that, the second half of the 2023 Formula One season will kick off next week with the Dutch Grand Prix. A lot of teams are expected to bring in upgrades, including Red Bull, which will seemingly raise the bar of competition for Mercedes.
Silver Arrows Have Improved But Not Much
Meanwhile, Sky Sports analyst and former driver Karun Chandhok read out interesting facts about Mercedes in a recent podcast. He said that last season, the Silver Arrows, on average, were 0.8% off the Red Bull. However, the percentage has come down to 0.596 this year, which suggests that the team is indeed making some progress.
Having said that, the progress is not significant enough, and Mercedes will still feel a little disappointed. Chandok added that they have arguably the best driver’s lineup, which can win the championship if provided with a stable car. Right now, their machinery is good enough to just battle in the middle of the grid with Aston Martin, Ferrari, and McLaren. Chasing the Red Bulls is nothing short of wishful thinking.