When Chevrolet unveiled the 1995 Impala SS, it also released a printed ad with the slogan “Lord Vader, your car is ready.” Some of you may also remember it from the 1980s when the media used it to describe the Buick GNX. Well, it’s time for this slogan to make a comeback because Mercedes-AMG unveiled its 2023 Formula 1 car and it’s as black and evil-looking as Darth Vader himself.
Named W14, a natural follow-up to last-year W13 single-seater, Mercedes’ 2023 contender sees the German outfit return to the predominantly black livery it used in 2020 and 2021. But now it features only slight traces of silver and light blue highlights for one of the darkest liveries ever ran in the series.
However, the team’s return to an all-black livery is more than just a stand against racism and a commitment to diversity, as it was back in 2020. It is part of Mercedes-AMG’s effort to reduce overall weight. We’re probably looking at a minor improvement, but Mercedes says it’s just enough to prevent the car from being overweight, as it was in 2022.
And here’s a fun fact: the W14’s black livery also echoes the Sauber C12, the car with which Sauber F1 made its debut in 1993. What’s the link to Mercedes, you ask? Well, the C12 was powered by a 3.5-liter V10 engine built in collaboration with the German company.
New livery aside, the W14 is also supposed to be a notable improvement over the W13, which was plagued by porpoising issues throughout 2022. Not only did it cause bouncing (and even crashes) on certain tracks, but this issue also prevented drivers from being able to really push the car when needed.
Mercedes remained faithful to last year’s “zeropods” concept but also made significant changes to the gulley bodywork on the engine cover. The floor was also updated to improve aerodynamics and eliminate the chassis’ tendency to bounce. The latter should also fix some of the power unit’s reliability issues.
The W14 will be driven by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, the same pair that manhandled the W13 throughout 2022. Russell joined AMG last year after spells at Force India and Williams, scoring his maiden win in Sao Paulo. Hamilton, on the other hand, embarks on his 17th season with the German outfit, looking for his eighth world championship and first triumph since 2020.
Having won the constructors’ championship in 2021, Mercedes-AMG struggled to remain competitive against Red Bull Racing and Ferrari in 2022. The Germans scored only one win and 13 podiums, ending the season in third place. Russell and Hamilton placed fourth and sixth in the drivers’ rankings.
The 2023 Formula One season will commence on March 5 in Bahrain and will conclude 23 races later on November 26, in Abu Dhabi.