Mercedes has previously disclosed modifications prior to the Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna. A new bottom, sidepods, and front suspension were among them. Since the Italian GP couldn't go on as planned, the new components had to make their debut at the Monaco GP instead. This weekend, when the Formula One world gathers in Monaco, all eyes will be on the Mercedes garage as the Silver Arrows present their newly updated W14. An early picture leak showed that the upgraded model will not have Mercedes' notorious zero-pods, leading some to describe it as a "B-spec" car. The revised Mercedes vehicle has a sidepod that more closely resembles that of championship leaders Red Bull, as shown in a tweet by Formula One writer Albert Fabrega. Mercedes, the eight-time Constructors' Champion, is anticipated to turn a corner with the improvements, as the team abandons the idea that has caused them so much trouble since the year 2022.
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Mercedes W14: New Sidepods
As seen in the image, this is certainly a move away from the team's original idea, and while the images aren't overly clear, it looks as though the sidepod intake is remarkably larger than what we've seen so far this year. As Bryson commented, the car still retains some of its original design, with it potentially taking inspiration from Aston Martin's AMR23 design.
Primera imagen de los muevos pontones de Mercedes.
First image of the new Mercedes sidepods. #f1 #MonacoGP pic.twitter.com/su38hzjeDN
— Albert Fabrega (@AlbertFabrega) May 24, 2023
As usual, it's important to note that upgrades do not mean a sudden increase in performance. The team will use Monaco to extract as much data from these upgrades as possible to create a setup that will work. But reports are estimating an improvement in performance by as much as 2-tenths a lap.
The new sidepod is significantly wider than before and with a rounded inlet, but retains the aerodynamic fairing for the upper side impact structure (SIS) that was a persistent feature in the old zeropod design.#MonacoGP #F1 https://t.co/wib8KC2av2
— Bryson Sullivan (@NaturalParadigm) May 24, 2023
Despite developing the zero-pod design for over a year now, Lewis Hamilton finally spoke out about the direction they were taking, admitting that he didn't agree with it. This forced the team to make this big change, with Toto Wolff confirming that they would be starting from the bottom once again, but with a new concept that had a higher performance ceiling.
Also Read: F1: Mercedes Reveals Upgrade Plans for it's Brackley's Formula 1 Campus
Monaco Grand Prix
The streets of Monte Carlo will play host to Formula One's world this weekend for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Grand Prix of Monaco has long been considered the "Crown Jewel" of the Formula One season owing to its storied past, glitzy trackside atmosphere, breathtaking scenery, and challenging turns.
However, Monaco's status as Formula One's pinnacle has come under scrutiny in recent years. As Formula One continues to rise in prominence, some are wondering whether the rest of the sporting world has outgrown Monaco. The layout, which inhibits overtaking and makes teams feel boxed in by the design of the track, may lead the "Crown Jewel" to lose some of its charms.
Some have considered the potential of changing the standard setup to allow for more passing. Only a few Formula One course have a single DRS zone, and Monaco is one of them. Formula One adopted DRS zones to help with overtaking in 2011, but with just one such zone in Monaco, overtaking opportunities are very restricted.
There had been some concern that the Grand Prix of Monaco would be deleted from the 2023 calendar, but that concern has been answered by the extension of the race's contract with Formula One through the end of the 2025 season. According to reports, Formula One gained "concessions" in the renewal due to dissatisfaction with the direction of television coverage and the management of track-side commercial deals, as well as the reduced hosting fee paid by organisers.
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