Mercedes reveal W14 development plan over the Easter break period

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton in action with the Mercedes W14. March 2023

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton in action with the Mercedes W14. February 2023.

Mercedes have a busy schedule over the Easter break as they search for downforce gains, while also teasing some suspension tweaks.

The history of last season has repeated itself for Mercedes, with the team facing a fresh recovery mission after an underwhelming start to F1 2023.

Red Bull have started out as the dominant force, while for Mercedes it has been a case of battling the Aston Martins for that ‘best of the rest’ spot, the most recent outing in Melbourne being Mercedes’ best showing yet.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton would actually make it an early Mercedes one-two on race day, and even though Russell was hampered by the poor timing of red flags and later eliminated with a power unit failure, it was Mercedes’ strongest display of the season so far – even if Max Verstappen did breeze past his old title foe.

Hamilton would cross the line P2 ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, creating the first podium of the season which had not exclusively featured Red Bull and Aston Martin.

It gave Mercedes a timely shot of momentum then going into the one-month break before F1 2023 action resumes in Baku, and the team will look to put this extended break caused by the Chinese GP cancellation to good use.

Asked as part of Mercedes’ Australian GP debrief whether the team are allowed to do development work over this Easter period, chief technical officer James Allison replied: “The simple answer is: yes, of course we are.

“There are two official break periods for the sport where we are not allowed to develop the car and those are in the summer and then new for this year also at Christmas. But the Easter break is a working period like any other.

“What will we be doing? Well, we will be doing the normal things. We are working as hard as we can in the wind tunnel to find more downforce, we will be working as hard as we can in the drawing office to convert the things that the wind tunnel found a few weeks ago into performance that we deliver to the track.

“We will be working in the drawing office also to bring some mechanical parts to the car, some different suspension components that we think will help the underlying balance of the car and make it a more driveable thing, making it something that the drivers have more confidence to push right to the limits.

“And we will be working on the normal sort of simulation loop and routine that allow us to prepare for the race weekends that are coming up, making sure that we land the car in the right place when we get to the race.” recommends

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And the next stop will be Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, this round marking the first sprint race weekend of the season.

And so, with only one practice session before qualifying instead of the usual three, Allison said this work to find the right set-up becomes even more crucial, as those who find it quicker reap the rewards.

“That will be a big deal at Baku, it’s the first sprint race of the weekend,” Allison continued.

“Sprint races really reward the teams that can land there with a starting setup that is pretty on the money and ready to go in qualifying because the time is really compressed in a sprint race weekend.

“Those are the things we will be working on and hopefully we work well and strong and have a good showing when we show up in Baku in just a few weeks’ time.”

Mercedes will head there P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, looking to make inroads on Aston Martin’s nine-point buffer over them.

In the Drivers’ standings, Hamilton is the lead Mercedes driver with 38 points, placing him P4. Russell now has 20 points to make up on his team-mate after that Australian GP DNF.