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.
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.