Lewis Hamilton crash gifts F1 rivals amazing chance to see new W14 floor

Jamie Woodhouse
Underside of upgraded Mercedes W14 following Lewis Hamilton crash. Monaco, May 2023.

Underside of upgraded Mercedes W14 visible after Lewis Hamilton crash. Monaco, May 2023.

Mercedes’ rivals were treated to a far more detailed look at their upgraded W14 in Monaco than either they or Lewis Hamilton would have wanted.

Although arguably the main talking point of Mercedes’ new-look W14 for Monaco has been the sidepods, with their ‘zero-pod’ concept which they stuck with since the start of these ground effect regulations no more, that was certainly not the only area of alteration for the eight-time Constructors’ champs.

A new front suspension and floor also feature in the cluster of upgrades made to the W14, with Mercedes deciding to go ahead with the unveiling in Monaco after the original plan to do so in Imola was unable to come to pass, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix sadly cancelled due to further severe flooding in the region.

Mercedes then are not reading too much into these upgrades in Monaco, this after all is a unique circuit which is rarely the place of choice for testing out new bits and pieces, meaning the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend is where Mercedes are expected to really start learning about the impacts of their work.

The last thing the team would have wanted would have been rivals getting a crystal clear look at the floor on that W14, the area of these cars which is claimed to offer up the biggest gains, but that is exactly what they got, courtesy of a Hamilton crash.

The seven-time champ suffered a snap of oversteer on the entry to Mirabeau during FP3, sending the W14 into the barrier.

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That brought the session to a close, and as the trusty crane came out to hoist the stricken Mercedes challenger away, waiting photographers were treated to a stunning view of the underside of that W14. Sadly, that means the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari, Mercedes’ closest rivals in F1 2023, will have the same luxury.

That though is likely a problem to worry about some other day, with the most important qualifying session of the year now on the horizon, considering the difficulty of overtaking in Monaco.

Hamilton is in fact the most successful driver on the current grid at this venue, having won the Monaco Grand Prix three times in his career.