First look: Latest Mercedes sidepod redesign revealed as W14 tweaks continue

Michelle Foster
Mercedes revised cooling inlets. Spa July 2023

Mercedes W14 with its revised cooling inlets. Spa July 2023

With their zeropods relegated to the past, Mercedes have introduced a new step in their sidepod evolution with a more pronounced bump as well as revised cooling inlets.

Chasing performance, not so much trying to solve problems anymore, Mercedes have brought yet another decent-sized upgrade to the track at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The revised W14 features two notable changes, the first being to the car’s sidepod inlet design.

Revised sidepods and cooling inlets for the Mercedes W14

Mercedes has reshaped the sidepod cooling inlet for this weekend, increasing the size of the opening while also reprofiling it.

Mercedes’ development path has come as a surprise to former Jordan and Jaguar F1 technical director Gary Anderson, who told The Race: “I must admit to being a bit surprised with the modifications Mercedes has brought to Spa for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“While Red Bull has been pushing its radiator inlet opening into the higher-up letterbox style that appeared last weekend in Hungary, Mercedes seems to have taken a step back towards the solution it had at the start of this year.”

He added: “Perhaps they were intended for Hungary, but took too long to produce?”

The team has also tweaked their sidepods, arguably the biggest headline-grabbing feature of Mercedes’ design over the past two years.

Having made the call earlier this season to drop the zeropods for a bulkier design, this new sidepod edition has a pronounced bump below the ‘T’ and ‘R’ of the Petronas branding.

This creates more aggressive downwash with a concave lower surface increasing outwash near the rear floor edge.

Speaking about the team’s upgrades prior to arriving in Belgium, motorsport boss Toto Wolff said: “We will be bringing updates this weekend as part of our ongoing development programme. We hope this will be another small step forward in improving the W14.

“As we have seen at many races this year though, it is hard to predict where we will be relative to our competitors. Wherever the true pace of our car is here, we want to maximise the outcome in this final race before the summer shutdown.”

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