Formula 1: Mercedes’ interesting car development decision

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images) /

As many teams fully switch to their car development for the 2024 Formula 1 season, Mercedes are still insisting on upgrading the W14.

The W14 has not worked as well as Mercedes have hoped for throughout the 2023 Formula 1 season. Their goal of once again competing for driver and constructor championships has fallen well short of expectations for the second year in a row.

As Mercedes aim for a large redesign of the W15 for the 2024 season, the parts on the current car will still be utilized to make some further upgrades.

Mercedes head of strategy Rosie Wait revealed why W14 improvements were not completely abandoned.

"“Whilst we will have to use the winter to make more fundamental developments to W15, there are plenty of things we can do with the current car which will both make it faster and aid our learning and understanding to develop next year’s car.”"

The next set of upgrades set to hit the W14 machines of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are expected to be ready for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas later this month.

The performance of the car and these upgrades will be monitored carefully, as the resulting data will be fed into the pipeline for the development of the W15.

Despite a heavy concept change coming for the 2024 Formula 1 season, the approach Mercedes plan on taking does make sense.

Figuring out which minute aspects of the car are beneficial, and which are detrimental, to its overall performance can be a key contributor to future development plans, not just for 2024 but beyond.

Mercedes are looking to take smaller aspects of the W14 which performed well and translate them into an iteration of the W15. So the season’s final six races will be rather important in terms of data collection and performance analysis.

Additionally, the battle for P2 in the constructor standings is getting tight between Mercedes and Ferrari after 17 rounds. The intended upgrades for the W14 could give the Silver Arrows the extra push they need in order to hold on to the position, even after Carlos Sainz Jr.’s recent Singapore victory.

Both Hamilton and Russell are aiming to finish as high as possible in the driver standings as well, with Hamilton having just taken third while Russell sits in a seventh place tie.

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As Mercedes take an interesting approach to the development of both the W14 and W15, their major concept change will be important as they aim to be at the top once again in 2024.