The 2023 season of Formula One was difficult for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team, therefore they are eager to redeem themselves in Qatar. In the aftermath of revised ground effect restrictions for the 2022 season, Mercedes F1—famous for its dominant performance from 2014 to 2021— lost the throne to Red Bull Racing. In the present day, Mercedes F1 is well on its way to regaining its previous grandeur. Rosie Wait, the team's Head of Race Strategy, has announced their lofty goals for improving the W14 race pace in preparation for the 2024 season and their ongoing battle with Ferrari for second place in the Constructors' Championship.
F1: What did Rosie Say?
According to Wait, it would be worthwhile for Mercedes to continue updating the W14 for the remainder of the season: "Ultimately this decision is never as black and white as it seems. While we will have to use the winter to make more fundamental development to the W15, there is 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, and that’s what we’ve already been doing and will continue to do."
He later added: “The new parts we bring to the car do both, hopefully, add performance and make the current car go faster, but they are all specifically targeted around areas where we need to further our understanding. And the things we will learn from testing them this year will directly feed into the development of the W15. We also mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we are in a really tight battle for P2 with Ferrari and that position in the championship is really important to all of us, so we have upgrades in the pipeline and will continue to keep bringing them to the car.”
F1 Qatar Grand Prix: Mercedes Bring Updated Rear Wing for W14
Qatar has some of the year's highest average highs. The race takes place at night, but the high temperatures have a natural effect on the cars and their drivers. As a result, teams need to pay close attention to things like engine cooling, braking, and tyres. Qatar features both fast corners and long straights. In spite of possible setbacks on the straight, Red Bull is poised to build a sizable lead in other sections of the circuit.
There seems to be a major change to Mercedes's rear wing. As a result, the DRS plane can be adjusted at a shallower angle, allowing for higher top speeds. Since the W14 car has always had a harder time than others with drag, the team decided to go with this design. An additional development is the rising acceptance of the "cut" endplate style. The AlphaTauri team was the pioneer in this field. It's no surprise that more teams are opting for this strategy on this type of circuit, where downforce is prioritised over drag.