Back to black: The clever reason behind Mercedes’ decision to revert to old livery proves W14 engineering brilliance

After a disappointing season last year, Mercedes is looking to regain its prior status as being a frontrunner on the F1 circuit.

The W14 has gone some way in signalling a statement of intent to its competitors.

The car features a sleek black livery that has been applauded by fans for being very stylish and a break from the silver used in the previous campaign.

Fans have already pointed out how the W14 has ‘bent the rules‘, with Mercedes believed to have manipulated a FIA loophole to deliver a challenger that can compete against the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari.

The black livery was first used by Mercedes in 2020, serving as a means to promote diversity and inclusion in the sport.

The team retained the colour scheme in 2021, before reverting to a silver livery in 2022.

However, they have now gone back to black and this time, it is not about style (although surely that’s an added bonus), but rather to reduce weight, which has become a priority for many teams.

In the previous season, teams attempted to save weight by stripping back paint, resulting in cars becoming progressively darker.

Williams, Aston Martin, and McLaren were notable examples, and even this year, teams like Haas and Alfa Romeo have adopted darker themes for their liveries.

Mercedes has taken this approach further with their 2023 car, which is almost entirely bare carbon, with only blueish green accents for Petronas.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff confirmed that the change to black is not only for a historical reason, but has a tactical element involved as well.

“When you look at where the story of the Silver Arrows came from, it’s that the Mercedes was put on track – the race car it was white, overweight, a little bit of our story last year – and they scratched off the paint, and it ended up with bare aluminium, and the car made the weight,” said Wolff.

Has Mercedes nailed 2023 design?

Mercedes W14. Credit:
Mercedes W14. Credit:

The team was then forced to scrape off additional paint in a bid to reduce the weight of the car.

Eventually, it was left with a bare aluminium car that met the weight requirements.

The new car builds on last year’s shrink-wrapped, sidepod-less philosophy, while tweaking key components for added performance.

The wings, floor, and air inlets/outlets have undergone the most significant changes.

Although Mercedes had a rocky start last season, they performed well towards the end.

Fourteen out of 22 races saw at least one of their drivers on the podium, with three of those races featuring both drivers on the podium.

They even won a race in Brazil. With the new car, Mercedes hopes to continue this momentum and challenge Red Bull and Ferrari for the championship.

Alpine is the only team yet to reveal their car, which will occur on February 16th.

Fans will be able to see all the cars at pre-season testing in Bahrain from February 23 to 25 before the 2023 season officially begins there from March 3 to 5.

Read more: Toto Wolff knows why Lewis Hamilton is stalling on signing Mercedes extension – “Doesn’t matter to him nor to us”

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