After securing a 2-3 finish in Spain, Mercedes proved that the W14’s updates can work outside their traditional stronghold in Catalunya – as Hamilton brought home an impressive P3 in Canada.
The Silver Arrows were cautious about drawing conclusions from the Spanish GP, given they have historically performed well at the circuit.
However, Lewis Hamilton was competitive again in Montreal. The 7-time Champion was able to hassle Fernando Alonso for much of the Grand Prix, even staying within touching distance of Verstappen in the first stint.
To be clear, Red Bull still enjoys a commanding advantage with the RB19 – a car that performs exceptionally across a variety of circuits and layouts.
Mercedes were also reminded of their weaknesses in Canada, including inefficient tyre warm-up, limited overall traction and downforce.
However, speaking after the chequered flag, team principal Toto Wolff reveals that more updates will be arriving to the W14 in the near future:
“We are bringing a larger one to Silverstone; then we should have another one,” he told the media.
“It’s just that the learnings have accelerated a lot since we changed some of the conceptual architecture. There should be decent steps coming in the next four races…
“We’ve seen good performance gains that are coming in the tunnel. We are seeing better what the car needs in order to go fast…
“So generally, the steps are getting bigger. I think we are making good inroads.”
From now until the Belgian GP (now the last race before the summer break), teams will be in the most intense development phase of the season.
Some teams are already prioritising 2024 development, introducing final improvements before allocating resources to next year’s campaign.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner has touched upon this, with the Austrian squad forced to be highly selective in its investment amidst its wind tunnel restrictions.
Returning to Mercedes, there are still a series of substantial updates remaining for this year.
The same can be said for Red Bull, although the Silver Arrows have more to understand about their relatively new concept before committing fully to next season.
In many ways, the W14’s recent performance has been impressive, considering that it usually takes some time before a team can optimise and understand such changes.
Moving forward, Mercedes will work to close the gap to Red Bull as much as possible this year – whilst also laying the foundations to avoid once again playing catch-up next season.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang