Mercedes have found ‘about three-tenths per lap’ through 2kg weight loss : PlanetF1
Mercedes' W14 will start the new season around 2kg lighter than its predecessor, which could equate to “a weight loss of around three tenths per lap”, according to Corriere dello Sport.
Mercedes took the wraps off of their 2023 Challenger on Wednesday, and the car took to the track later in the day for its debut.
Sticking with last year's zero-pod concept, the new 2023 car has returned to the black livery for 2020 and '21.
This, the team explains, is in part to save some weight.
Last season, Mercedes was one of the teams struggling to achieve the lowest possible weight with the new ground-effect aerodynamic car, this year the team opted to strip it back to carbon fibre.
The lack of paint plus lighter parts could be worth as much as “three tenths” to the team.
Corriere dello Sport reports that “after rebounding, weight is the second worst enemy of the car in front.”
‘The frame has been revised and lightened, along with some important internal components. Qualified sources say that would be a substantial reduction of about three-tenths per lap.
“The Mercedes W14 is back in all black, expressing performance and saving up to 2kg.”
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“We are at the weight limit where we want to be,” the Mercedes motorsport boss told media including PlanetF1.com, “Obviously when we see all the weight savings, everyone needs to Make a commitment.
“It's really a performance issue.
“But there aren't a lot of ways to save on paint, but it shows the intent of what we're doing, and the narrative fits well, not only because of the historical context of how the Silver Arrow was created, but because our attempt to paint the car two years ago is still very much efficient.
“So it all makes sense.”
But wait, there's more!
The Italian publication also claims that Mercedes' engine gain, reportedly around 16 horsepower in winter, could be worth another two-tenths per lap for the Brackley team and its customers.
Mercedes struggled to match Red Bull's top speed last season, with average speeds dropping between 8 and 12 km/h depending on the track layout.
However, after some reliability fixes during the break, they reportedly found an extra power of around 16hp.
This translates to two-tenths of a second per lap.
Corriere reported that while Mercedes' loss to Red Bull was partly down to drag, the rest was down to the engine.
But “a major software update announced by chief engine engineer Hywel Thomas aimed at maintaining the excellent reliability shown for 2022” has gone some way towards ironing out the flaws.
“It is understood that estimated gains appear to warrant a two-in-ten improvement.”
Good catch for Mercedes, but everyone finds something
While the Mercedes W14 may be half a second quicker than its predecessor, it's safe to say the Red Bull RB19 will be quicker than the 18 based on Corriere's figures, with Ferrari also finding the extra speed.
It's a story as old as Formula 1, where one team improves but so do others.
The only question really is who does it best and that won't be known until Bahrain, the game and not the Test.
With this year's championship marking the second season of the new ground-effect aerodynamic rules, it's fair to say there will be gains for all teams, and possibly big ones.
It's just that as the years go by, the people in front find less and less, while the people closer to the back find more. That's why, with eight cars on the podium in Formula 1 in 2021, the field is finally closing.
Hopefully the steps taken by the sport, budget caps, ATR ratings, Red Bull's penalties, mean we don't have to wait eight years in the new regulations to see another race.