Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test

Mercedes’ Jeddah upgrade for W14 ‘won’t be a game-changer’

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes play down the scale of their upgrade package for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

In brief

Upgrades already being added to Mercedes W14

Following their disappointing start to the season in Bahrain, Mercedes already have parts to add to their W14 car for round two of the season in Jeddah.

“This weekend in Saudi Arabia we will learn more about W14, its characteristics and its limitations,” said team principal Toto Wolff. “It provides a very different test to Bahrain, and it will be interesting to see how the car reacts.

“We are bringing some small developments to the car. They won’t be game-changers, but they can start moving us in the right direction. And we’ll be pushing as hard as we can to create opportunities, and hopefully will give us a better account of ourselves than in Bahrain.”

Mercedes are third in the constructors’ standings after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fifth and seventh respectively in Bahrain.

Positive relationship with rival bosses “may change” – Vowles

New Williams team principal James Vowles may be new to the meetings with his counterparts across the paddock, having only assumed his current position just before pre-season testing, but he’s already familiar with many of them and particularly his previous employer Toto Wolff at Mercedes.

“There is definitely dialogue [with Wolff],” he said. “He and I have had a working relationship together for probably 12 years. And you simply don’t let go of those relationships overnight.

“But for what it’s worth, I have very good relationships up and down the paddock with most team principals. I have the same with Fred [Vasseur] I’ve known for many, many years of my life. Otmar [Szafnauer], I have known for many years, Zak [Brown] I know also. So whilst the relationship with Toto is incredibly strong as a result of working directly, and I’m asking questions of him, I’m also doing the same with many others up and down the public as well. And thus far everyone’s been supportive. That may change in time.”

Hunter-Reay lands seat for Indy 500

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion, has signed with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing to contest this year’s Indianapolis 500 race.

The 42-year-old retired from full-time racing in 2021, after a career in the top level of American single-seater racing that included 18 wins over 18 seasons. He is the 33rd driver to be announced as entering the 2023 Indy 500, meaning he will currently automatically qualify for the race.

Should there be a 34th entry, which exceeds the size of the grid, then IndyCar will use ‘Bump Day’ qualifying to decide who misses out on starting the race.

Toyota top Sebring practice

Kamui Kobayashi led a Toyota one-two on the first day of practice sessions at Sebring for the World Endurance Championship.

The sister Toyota GR010 Hybrid, with Ryo Hirakawa at the wheel, set the pace in first practice, with two Ferraris and a Cadillac filling the positions behind and Kobayashi’s car lapping 0.964 seconds off the pace in fifth place.

In second practice Kobayashi posted a 1’46.954 lap that put him 0.318s clear of team mate Brendon Hartley, who shares his car with Hirakawa and Sebastien Buemi, while the two Ferraris and the sole Cadillac failed to improve on their pace from earlier in the day.

On Thursday there will be a third practice session and qualifying for Friday’s 1000-mile race.

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Comment of the day

Yuki Tsunoda and his AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost have recently spoken about how Tsunoda needs to improve his composure on the radio while driving. The insight they shared, both on the topic and while actually communicating on the radio, has been appreciated by RaceFans readers.

Team radio really is a window into the soul. I love that it’s such a clear example of the teamwork involved as well as the driver’s mental state. I feel a huge percentage of DTS’ success relates to it – albeit they like to move it to different moments in the season! No other sport really offers as good an insight into how the key players are thinking.

I’ve always loved Alonso’s team radio, Schumacher was great too in a different way but both had an obvious vision of what’s going on outwith their car and team. A key element of their greatness in plain sight. This is where is feel some other drivers have lost their way.

Tsunoda is far too emotional and I feel in a fight with an Alonso that Alonso would put him in compromising positions to frustrate him and then beat him on strategy, as Yuki won’t be able to juggle both. Norris also falls foul of this too often. Short, intemperate remarks, particularly in the wet, suggests that he has real anxiety under pressure or that the team don’t communicate with him at the right times for the right information. Both would benefit from saying less in high pressure moments for me.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Rob Wilson and Drew Storms!

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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6 comments on “Mercedes’ Jeddah upgrade for W14 ‘won’t be a game-changer’”

  1. Geez Haas, I sure hope you’re not doing what the PBS story says you are – supplying CNC replacement parts to Russia.

  2. Possibly Mercedes have switched the frammiss about and then rearranged the doo-dads…

    1. Now if they can just figure out where Vowles hid the oscillation overthruster…..

  3. As I already responded to COTD in the relevant article, I’ll do a shorter version here:
    Some drivers are more emotionally vocal than others, who are calmer under pressure.

  4. Mercedes should sell their current chassis to williams if they dont want to continue with the concept. It will at least be better than current williams and will be developed further.

    1. I’m sure Vowles knows enough about it. Doubt he’d want to purchase it off them.

Comments are closed.