Max Verstappen casts verdict on Mercedes running upgraded W14 in Monaco

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton over the line. Formula 1 Australia April 2023.

Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton as he crosses the finish line to win. Australia April 2023.

Max Verstappen supports the decision from Mercedes to roll out an upgraded W14 for this weekend’s race in Monte Carlo.

Having had an upgrade package ready for last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which was cancelled as a result of the extreme weather conditions and flooding in the region, Mercedes have opted to roll out the upgrade package for this weekend’s race in Monaco.

This is despite the particularly unique demands of the Monte Carlo circuit, which is as low-speed and tortuous as it is possible for a Grand Prix circuit to be, meaning the upgrades’ potential may not be as exploitable as at another track.

Ferrari, who also had upgrades ready to go last weekend, opted against bringing their package to Monaco and, instead, will roll out their updated SF-23 at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

But Mercedes’ approach has the approval of Max Verstappen, with the reigning World Champion saying it makes more sense to run the car in updated form regardless of the circuit characteristics.

“I would always put it on the car as soon as possible,” he said.

“Because you always learn always more than leaving it in the garage and not using it.”

The updated W14 sports a new sidepod design, moving away from the zero-pod concept that Mercedes have persevered with since the beginning of the new regulation cycle introduced at the start of 2022. recommends

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Verstappen admitted it’s very difficult to gauge just how quick Mercedes may be on track this weekend in Monaco with their upgraded package, but said he suspects Red Bull’s nearest rival may be the drivers in red.

“I think, naturally, maybe Charles [Leclerc], Ferrari in general,” he said, when asked to identify where the threat may come from on the streets of Monte Carlo.

“I mean Carlos [Sainz] is also pretty handy around here.

“But also I think Aston Martin, they’re quite good in the low speed and, in general, they haven’t been as efficient on the straights so I guess here, I think they can be fast.”