Christian Horner reacts to Mercedes’ W14 upgrades: ‘Well to be honest…’

Michelle Foster
Mercedes revised no zeropod sidepods. Monaco May 2023

Mercedes revised no zeropod sidepods. Monaco May 2023

As Mercedes debuted a heavily revised W14, Christian Horner has warned that “sometimes” the visual things bring the least performance to the car.

After months of speculation, if not more than a year’s worth, Mercedes finally answered the question about their zero-pods concept and dropped them ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Although the team insisted many a time that it was not the cause, or at least not the sole cause, of their problems, out went the zero-pods and in came bulging sidepods.

It wasn’t the Red Bull copycat that Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff had stated Red Bull could “put a little sticker” on if they wanted, all he cared about was having a winning car. Instead the sidepod design has been likened more to Aston Martin’s as it doesn’t have the severe undercut of the RB19. recommends

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Red Bull team boss Horner was asked for his thoughts in Friday’s press conference, the Briton warning Mercedes that with today’s cars looks don’t always matter.

“Well, to be honest, I haven’t had an in depth look at the upgrades,” he said.

“Obviously, visually, they look a bit different.

“But sometimes the visual things actually have the least performance impact. It’s what’s usually underneath the skin or the finer detail that has the biggest impact.”

Mercedes had a solid opening day with the revised car, which also includes a new front suspension and floor, with Lewis Hamilton half a second down on Max Verstappen in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix with George Russell a further 0.3s off the pace.

But in today’s Formula 1 with its budget cap, Mercedes have gambled on the car, which is effectively a B-spec version of the W14 as it would’ve set them back a pretty penny in the budget.

With that in mind, Horner says it’s now up to them to make it work.

“So obviously they’ve bought a significant amount of parts,” he continued, “so they’ve obviously committed a significant part of their budget cap to this upgrade, and it’s up to a team how and when it applies it.”

This season F1’s budget cap is set at $135 million, although the teams were given allowances for the increased number of sprint races as well as inflation.