Not only does it look stealthy, but the lack of paintwork will make it lighter and faster too.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team has finally introduced what it hopes will be Max Verstappen's worst nightmare: the W14 E Performance.
It's only one number up from last year's W13, but it will likely represent a giant leap forward in terms of overall performance. The Mercedes F1 team rarely makes a mistake, but they messed up nearly as badly as the valet who rammed one Lamborghini Ultimae into another Ultimae. It's safe to say the unlucky number W13 won't be put in a museum anytime soon.
Team boss and CEO Toto Wolff didn't hesitate to call 2022 a tough season, despite a one-two finish at Interlagos. But Wolff quickly pointed out that the personal and technical difficulties helped them build W14.
"W13 certainly had performance which we never were able to unlock and put all its downforce on the ground," said Wolff. "Our car performed very well at the end of the season. However, we still had the famous bouncing at some circuits and the car never gave the drivers good feedback, which limited them in being able to really push. We have tried to keep all the goodness of the W13 and address its weaknesses."
W14 might be the most attractive F1 car we've seen. Instead of sticking with what's familiar, Mercedes went for a menacing black-on-black approach. The car is not painted at all and is finished in exposed matte carbon, tying in with the origin of the Silver Arrows name. In 1934, the Mercedes-Benz F1 team sanded the cars down the trackside to get them below the weight limit of 750 kilograms (roughly 1,653 pounds), exposing the bare metal bodywork in silver.
If you take a closer look, you'll note that each car has the driver's race number, wheels centers, and winglet decals finished in their own unique color. Hamilton's is his signature yellow as a nod to his original F1 helmet design.
The big question is whether Mercedes has managed to get the W13's porpoising issues under control with the new car. Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have only experienced the car in a simulator, but we do not doubt that Mercedes spent the most development hours on this conundrum because the W13's power and reliability were top-notch.
The engineers changed the front and rear suspension, the body is new, but the most significant changes are underneath and top secret.
"Our hopes and expectations are always to be capable of fighting for a World Championship. However, our competitors were very strong last year, and we are playing catch-up," said Wolff.
According to Mercedes, the main focus was on giving the drivers a more balanced car that weighed less, with the aerodynamics needing to be better matched with the regulations. The car will also be updated throughout the year as usual, with Mick Schumacher serving as a reserve and development driver to aid in its enhancement.
Schumacher joined the team as a reserve driver shortly after Haas decided not to renew his contract. "I've always felt very close to Mercedes," said Schumacher, whose dad Michael raced for Mercedes upon his return to the sport in 2010. "I am very happy to be a part of the Team, and I know how important my role will be in aiding the development of the W14. I am committed to giving it my all to contribute to our performance in this competitive environment."
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton look amped. Despite Hamilton not scoring a single victory last year, which was a first for the most successful F1 driver ever (going by the number of wins). Meanwhile, Russell secured his first career victory and finished fourth in the Drivers' standings. We hope his bonus included a Mercedes-AMG One as that victory was the lone highlight in a season Mercedes would otherwise like to forget.
"It's been a long winter and there's plenty of anticipation to see if the W14 lives up to our expectations," claimed Russell. "I'm excited, and, while there's a lot of talk at this point in the season, we now need to see how we perform when the car takes to the track,"
Hamilton, meanwhile, is not letting last season get him down. "I'm excited to go racing again. I feel calm, energized, and have my focus sharpened. I'm ready to do what's necessary to win."
Join The Discussion