Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes’ black livery isn’t just about Black Lives Matter

Mercedes revealed at their launch that they've returned to a black livery for 2023, after previously using it in 2020 and 2021 to fight racism.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the team’s return to black has helped them reach the “weight limit” ahead of the forthcoming season, with the side having focused on cutting weight during the off-season.

Hitting the 798kg minimum weight is a great achievement for the Silver Arrows, given that they dealt with an overweight car for the bulk of last season, as they slumped to third in the Constructors’ Championship.

Making sure that they enter the new season at the minimum weight was a target of theirs over the winter break, given that it’ll give them an early advantage come the season opener.

It also means that the Brackley-based outfit won’t have to focus on weight saving during 2023, meaning they can develop the W14 elsewhere.

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Returning to a black livery last seen in 2021 has allowed Mercedes to enter the new season at the minimum legal weight, due to the fact they’ve not had to paint over the vast majority of the carbon, given that it’s already black.

Whilst not painting the car doesn’t reduce “tonnes of weight”, Wolff believes it “shows the intent” the team have to return to the front this season, following their worst campaign since the turbo-hybrid era began.

“We are on the weight limit,” Wolff told media following the launch of the W14.

“When we looked at all the weight savings, everybody needed to make a commitment.

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“So it is really a performance issue, but then there’s not tonnes of weight that you can save on the paint, but it shows the intent of what we do and the narrative is to strive, not only because of the historical context of how the Silver Arrows were created, but also because our attempt in painting the car black two years ago is still very valid.

“So it all kind of made sense.”

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is a big fan of the team returning to a black livery, after they opted to return to a traditional silver design in 2022.

Hamilton recognises that the W14 has minimal paint on it; however, the 38-year-old has noted that the car’s look doesn’t matter, “it’s about how quick it goes”.

“We were overweight all year last year,” Hamilton said.

“And so we were carrying a weight penalty even into the last race.

“So that’s been a heavy focus to try and make sure that’s not the case this year.

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“Even last year, they thought they were going to be on weight, and we were way over.

“I’m glad that’s been taken seriously and that’s what we see on the paint [the livery] – we see a lot of carbon, not too much paint on the car, it’s the bare minimum.

“For me it’s positive, because that means that we’re all out on performance and it’s not necessarily how it looks, it’s about how quick it goes.”