Bahrain GP: Several Mercedes upgrades revealed after woeful pre-season test

Mercedes were fourth in the pecking order during pre-season testing, as a result of Aston Martin having massively improved.

In a bid to close the gap to Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin, Mercedes have introduced six upgrades for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, after a disappointing display in pre-season testing.

After their abysmal campaign last year, Mercedes were hoping to enter 2023 in much better shape; however, it appears that the start of the new season is going to be just as challenging for the Silver Arrows.

They endured balance and rear grip-based issues during the test at the Bahrain International Circuit last week, with George Russell having also stopped on-track as a result of a hydraulic problem.

Following their challenging pre-season, Mercedes will be hoping that their upgrades can push them towards their rivals, so what exactly have they upgraded ahead of the weekend?

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Starting at the front of the car and Mercedes have introduced an upgraded front wing, with it including new flicks, which will increase the performance of the W14 over a variety of ride heights.

The team have also introduced a newly re-profiled underside of their nose, whilst they’ve also changed the height of their front suspension.

Upgrades have also been made to the W14’s floor and sidepods, in a bid to improve rear downforce, given that they struggled with rear grip during pre-season testing.

Mercedes have also introduced a medium downforce rear wing for this weekend’s Bahrain GP, after having run the wrong rear wing during last week’s testing.

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The Brackley-based team were the slowest in a straight-line during testing but have already been much quicker during Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2, suggesting that their top speed might not be as bad as originally thought.

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Perhaps not too much can be read into Mercedes’ pre-season performance given that it was just testing, with technical director Mike Elliot having revealed that the team were simply trying to “understand” the W14.

“We’ve developed the car’s [aerodynamic] efficiency quite a lot over the winter. Where we choose to run the race is about how we think is the best way to run the race,” Elliot said.

“Obviously in testing, it’s just about trying to understand and so we’ve not done any work moving up and down in terms of downforce level. We’ve kept it constant and tried to get all the data we can from the car to understand as much as we can and the issues we may face, and just build from there.”