George Russell had one objective on his mind as Mercedes revealed the W14, insisting the Silver Arrows’ motivation to avoid a 2022 repeat in “immense.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mick Schumacher and Toto Wolff joined Russell at Silverstone for the launch of Mercedes’ 2023 machine, as the German team eye a return to the title fight this year.
Ditching their traditional silver colour scheme once again, Mercedes returned to a predominantly black colour scheme reminiscent of liveries on their 2020 and 2021 cars.
The sleek and stealthy machine is the one Mercedes hope is capable of battling Red Bull’s RB19 and Ferrari’s SF-23, after dropping off the front-runners’ pace last year.
Russell took the team’s only victory in 2022 as Hamilton went winless for the first time in Formula 1. Although the more junior British driver scooped Brazilian Grand Prix glory, eight podiums and his first pole position, the 25-year-old won’t settle for another season being dominated by Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
“We’re all here to win, it’s simple as that,” Russell said at the Silverstone launch, which took place on his birthday.
“We need to go out and see what challenges we are faced with. The team have put so much hard work into this car.
“The motivation and the fire within the factory is just immense because people don’t want a repeat of what happened in 2022 so we’re ready for it and motivated to go out and fight.”
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Russell was promoted from Williams for his first season with Mercedes last season. After three years battling in the bottom half of the grid, the former F2 champion was finally handed a chance to rise to the front.
The King’s Lynn talent bagged nine-straight podiums to start the season and eventually out-scored Hamilton. However, it wasn’t the title-challenging season he’d hoped for.
“If you mentioned (the results) at the start of the year we’d probably have been pretty disappointed with that,”
“But knowing how the season panned out, knowing the challenges we had with the car, I think we can be pretty proud of the job we did.
“There were a lot of positives to take away, the reliability of the car was great, the strategy on many occasions was really strong. I think the personal learnings we all went through, the technical learnings, have all gone into the car sat just across from us right now.
“Hopefully we’ve taken a step up.”
The Mercedes car has taken a more radical approach to a grid-wide trend of including more exposed carbon on their livery, with the teams aiming to reduce weight on their racing machines.
As well as returning to a blackout livery, Mercedes will hope to have rid themselves of the porpoising issues that caused so much frustration during the 2022 season.
Hamilton seemed demoralised in the early stages of the campaign, grappling with a sub-par Mercedes machine as well as the disappointment of his dramatic defeat to Max Verstappen in late 2021. Thrilled by the prospect of having a more competitive car underneath him, the 38-year-old is ready to get on track.
“This is the most exciting part of the year,” Hamilton said.
“Being at the factory this past week, seeing all these small elements coming together, coming out of different parts of the factory and you see it come together and everything fits so beautifully.
“You just stand in awe of seeing how amazing the designers and the engineers are, how much detail they go into.
“The other day I kind of freaked myself out, there’s eight billion people in the world and only 20 of us get to do this and two of us that get to drive for this team. We are so privileged, beyond measure.
“This is the most exciting time for sure, especially with all the difficulties we had last year. We’re all anxious to get out there and see what we’ve got, and where everyone else is.”