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Mercedes has ‘Plan B car’ ready if issues persist

Mercedes has a ‘Plan B car’ on standby should their problems from the W13 persist with their 2023 challenger.

The team has elected to keep the zero sidepod philosophy for the W14, with some tweaks to the air duct design around the engine cover.

It was an encouraging vote of confidence in their car design from Mercedes, given the problems that led to nearly a winless season in 2022.

However according to Sky Sports F1 analyst Ted Kravitz, Mercedes has another car concept that is more in-line with the design of Red Bull that it can introduce midway through the season if their issues from last season still persist.

“They’re giving their big idea, which was a failure last year, one more go. But I believe they have a ‘Plan B’ in production,” said Kravitz.

“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.”

Mercedes: Don’t expect anything too soon

Mercedes already denied rumours that the first laps of the W14 were hampered with technical issues, when it was ran during a shakedown at Silverstone.

The team believes it has a “proper handle” on what went wrong with the W13 last season according to Kravitz, but it is not expecting to see a massive leap in performance out of the box.

He continued: “These rules are what they are for a few years yet, so they’ve got to get it right at some point.

“But at the moment they’re saying ‘Look we think we’ve got a proper handle on what went wrong last year, we still think our way – which is unique in the pit lane – having very slim sidepods is the way to go aerodynamically.

“Most of the downforce is generated by the floor, which you can’t see, but they’re saying ‘Don’t expect anything too soon’.”

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