Mercedes arrived at the Monaco Grand Prix with their anticipated Imola upgrade package, and true to their word, it boasts significant deviations from the original ‘zero-sidepod’ W14 model, as captured in the initial pit lane photographs ahead of the race weekend.

The team even joked on social media about the proposed changes to the car ahead of this weekend’s action.

This marks the team’s first attempt to acknowledge the lack of competitiveness in the initial W13 and W14 concepts.

They’ve faced limitations in modifying the existing W14 tub, which was originally designed around the now-abandoned concept and cannot be altered this year.

Although the cockpit position and the side impact bars remain unchanged, this has impacted the extent to which Mercedes could incorporate an undercut design into the new sidepods.

These sidepods are now notably wider, and the previous narrow vertical radiator intake has given way to more conventionally wider horizontal openings.

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Previews
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 25: The side pod of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team F1W14 car during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at C…

While the upper side impact bar continues to serve as a winglet, featuring an aerodynamic shroud that directs air towards the floor edges, the broader front of the sidepod bears a closer resemblance to Ferrari’s design, lacking the deep undercut commonly associated with Red Bull’s classical approach.

As a result of the tub’s basic architecture, rather than channelling air primarily along the lower body sides towards the coke bottle section and subsequently to the diffuser exit, the updated design necessitates some out washing of air away from the car at the front of the sidepods.

However, the shape of the bodywork at the rear is strategically utilized to manipulate air pressure.

Another noteworthy alteration is observed in the front suspension, displaying a more pronounced degree of anti-dive within its geometry.

This characteristic is determined by the height difference between the forward and rearward top wishbones. A greater angle between them indicates a higher degree of anti-dive.

Mercedes bring upgrade package to Monaco

Thus far, it remains unclear if the rear top wishbone has also been mounted at a lower position.

Red Bull’s RB19, for instance, features an anti-dive angle of approximately 45 degrees, while the previous W14 front suspension employed an angle of around 15 degrees.

In theory, enhanced resistance to the car’s diving motion allows for a more consistent aerodynamic balance throughout various stages of cornering and facilitates running the car at lower heights, thereby increasing underbody downforce.

Undoubtedly, there are likely numerous additional details regarding the Mercedes update that remain unseen.

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Photo by Dan Mullan – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

It is reasonable to expect notable differences in the geometry of the underfloor tunnels, for instance.

Plenty is riding on this upgrade package, with Mercedes arguably the fourth-fastest car on the grid right now.

It may even determine the future of one of their drivers, as speculation about next year’s line-ups begins.

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