Mercedes promise ‘significant changes’ as they’re set to sandbag in Bahrain

The W13 was riddled with issues, rendering Mercedes uncompetitive in 2022.

In what was possibly the most excited car launch yet, Mercedes showed off the W14 to the world on Wednesday, with the livery returning to black after a year in silver.

The car itself looks relatively similar to the W13, which struggled for performance for the majority of 2022 until Mercedes figured out the best development path under the new regulations.

Porpoising plagued the team and George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were not given a car capable of challenging the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari until the later stages of the season, with the former picking up his first F1 win in Brazil.

While the no sidepod design keeps its place on the W14, Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott has insisted that there are many differences between the W13 and W14.

“When you look at the cars that have been released, it’s all in the detail,” Elliott explained.

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“The key bits are we’ve completely changed the suspension to help with the handling.

“There are significant changes in the bodywork, although the core stayed the same.”

The Silver Arrows were forced to sacrifice half of last season’s development to solve their porpoising issue, and George Russell has kept tight lipped about the chances of the bouncing returning this year.

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“We’ll see next week,” he said when asked if he expects porpoising on the W14.

All the indicators over pre-season point to Mercedes returning to be a competitive team once again in 2023, but nothing will be known for sure until the season gets underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The team have shared footage of the W14 completing a shakedown in Silverstone following its launch, however these laps will be for their drivers to get a feel for the car rather than test its true capabilities.

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It is also very likely that the team will sandbag during pre-season testing in Bahrain, refusing to drive at 100 percent in order to keep their cards close to their chest.

The majority of other teams have opted for the detailed sidepod design, leaving some fans to label Mercedes persistence with the no sidepod design as bold ahead of the upcoming season.

The Silver Arrows will be hoping that their technical design differences can give them the edge over their rivals, as they look to quickly return the constructors’ championship trophy to Brackley this season.