Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott has finally broken his silence on Mercedes’ rumoured “Plan B” car amidst problems plaguing the W14 during pre-season testing.
It has to be said that Mercedes is in a much better space currently compared to how things were at the start of 2022, when the W13 was experiencing a lot of porpoising.
This also had Hamilton complain about the pain he had to endure in the car and he famously walked out of his W13 clutching his back following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
While this year’s car looks a lot faster than last year, it doesn’t mean that Mercedes has completely nailed the design.
Day 2 of pre-season testing saw Hamiling sliding around the track as downforce deserted him.
Later in the day, Russell managed to complete just 26 laps before a hydraulics failure cut his session short.
Interestingly, Mercedes has put its faith in the zero-pod design once again this year despite the 2022 car being such a disaster.
The Mercedes engineers don’t feel the porpoising effect experienced by the drivers last year had anything to do with the sidepods and want to still feel it’s worth replicating.
Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz had reported that Mercedes had a back-up concept in case the W14 didn’t work out.
“I believe they have a ‘Plan B’ in production, and if they need to, they can go to a ‘Plan B’, which is the Red Bull or Ferrari style of doing things, in the middle of the season,” he said.
Mercedes developing ‘evolution’ of W14
Kravitz wanted to confirm this rumour with Mercedes technical engineer Mike Elliott.
“So there is a bodywork coming, it will look different. It won’t look like somebody else’s, it will look like an evolution of ours. That’s on its way,” Elliott said.
Elliott was then asked if he was willing to trash Mercedes’ entire concept if things went south and instead would look at making something closer to Red Bull.
“It’s not in our current plans,” Elliott responded.
Red Bull has yet again established itself as frontrunners during pre-season testing, having won the constructors’ championship last year.
Elliott also confirmed that Mercedes has not shown its full array just yet and wants to hold back the car’s complete repertoire for race day.
“We’re probably not running the front wing we’ll run when we come racing,” he said.
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