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Mercedes issue reality check: New parts doesn't mean new concept

Mercedes has attempted to cool expectations surrounding their planned upgrades due at the upcoming Grands Prix, which should see visually different components being used.

Mercedes is looking to temper expectations surrounding their planned car developments, which will be implemented over the next few Formula 1 races. With Mercedes promising to go a completely different car design direction part-way through an eye-opening Bahrain GP weekend, many eyes are on the Silver Arrows to see if they can eventually reduce the gap to runaway championship leaders Red Bull. Changes of design direction - often described as a change in car 'concept' - are often associated with big, drastic leaps forward in car performance, which Mercedes is clearly seeking after losing ground to Red Bull over the winter. Part of Mercedes' current W14 design concept is the 'zero sidepod' design, retained from 2022 and one of the features which visually separates it from the rest of the field. Mercedes have long said that they were not wedded to their current sidepod design, and were promising to experiment with their design in the first half of the season. The team have now released an explainer article detailing the definition of a 'car concept'. Whilst they don't go as far as mentioning a change of sidepod design, they highlighted that simply bringing new parts to the car - as they are about to do from the Baku GP onward - doesn't equate to a change of concept, like many fans could be anticipating.

Mercedes' article explains that the floor and wings are the most important aerodynamic aspects of a Formula 1 car, before posing the question: "When bodywork or aerodynamic upgrades are brought to a car, is the team therefore bringing a new ‘car concept’? "Well, the answer is… no. And that’s because a car is constantly changing and evolving. It’s much more than what you see. We may start with theories over the best possible direction. Each department has an idea of what is required, and we bring those different aspects together. The aim: to get a car that the team can extract the maximum amount of performance from. "From that starting point though, it’s a constantly developing picture. With every step of the design, test, and manufacture process, we’re learning. Every lap completed on the track enables us to build our understanding and our development. The result of that process is a car that combines hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas as it moves from initial launch to crossing the finish line in Abu Dhabi. "‘Car concept’ therefore is less about what you see physically on track. It’s the theory and understanding of what all the elements are to produce the fastest possible car. And this is always a moving target. We don’t simply start off with a concept and that’s it! The game is to learn as much as possible, faster, and in more depth than our rivals."

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