In preparation for the second half of the thrilling 2023 Formula 1 season, James Allison, the Technical Director of Mercedes, has honed in on specific areas for enhancing the W14’s performance.
The team faced initial challenges as they embarked on the season, introducing an evolved version of the W13 aero concept featuring the daring ‘zero’ sidepods in the opening races. However, this daring approach didn’t yield the desired results.
A strategic shift was made, reminiscent of the Red Bull RB19’s more conventional layout, marking a turning point in the team’s strategy. Additionally, a pivotal moment arrived at the Monaco Grand Prix, where substantial modifications were introduced to the car’s floor configuration, ushering in a new phase of development.
Allison believes this has enabled them to make the biggest gains in performance so far this year: “Simply putting downforce on the car in the medium to high-speed area of the aero map.
“That downforce is found closer to the ground than we had developed the car in the first instance.”
Toto Wolff has previously highlighted the influence of the W14 on driver performance, emphasizing its tendency to be highly sensitive for George Russell.
Looking ahead, James Allison envisions a targeted solution through upcoming updates. These adjustments aim to bolster driver confidence by addressing a specific concern: the car’s excessive reactivity, which has been a point of contention among drivers.
“Bread and butter downforce is always a good thing. We are also trying to make the car more reassuring for the drivers when they initially turn in.
“It feels too reactive. Then when they get to the apex they have the opposite problem, where we want it to bite at the front and it doesn’t.
“It’s unstable when you first turn the wheel and then annoyingly dead when they get to the apex. We want it the other way around. That’s what we are working on.”