For the upcoming campaign, Mercedes has gone back to using the colour scheme it ran during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, when the W11s and W12s were painted black at Hamilton’s behest to highlight motorsport’s diversity issues, as well as the problem of global racial inequality.
This time, however, while Mercedes is pleased its livery can again help to promote those important messages, the primary goal has been to ensure the W14 is running at or as close as possible to the 798kg car weight limit.
When it returned to using a silver livery for 2022, the team did not ever run at that figure.
That number was set to be lowered to 796kg for this year before the FIA decided to stick to the previous limit in part because the 2023 tyre compounds are heavier and all cars have to run a new electronics box.
Mercedes also added extra aerodynamic parts to claw back downforce lost on the problematic W13 design that came with an additional weight penalty.
When asked what he thought about the return to a black livery and the decisions behind that at Mercedes’ 2023 team launch last week by Motorsport.com, Hamilton said: “Pretty much everyone in the team, or in the garage at least, preferred the black car from before – so everyone’s with it. Everyone likes it within the team.
Photo by: Mercedes AMG
“And ultimately, weight is a key goal for us. We were overweight all year, last year. And so we were carrying a weight penalty, even into the last race.
“So that’s been a heavy focus, to try to make sure that that’s not the case this year.
“We’ll find out later on [in Mercedes’ Silverstone shakedown], or next week [during pre-season testing in Bahrain], whether or not we’ve hit that mark.
“Because even last year, they thought they were going to be on weight, and we were way over.
“So, I’m glad that that’s been taken seriously. And that’s what we see on the paint. We see a lot of carbon, not too much paint on the car. It’s the bare minimum.
“And for me, it’s positive, because that means that it’s all out for performance. And it’s not necessarily how it looks, it’s about how quick it goes.”
At Mercedes’ launch event, the W14 appeared with its lower surfaces comprising just bare carbon fibre and its upper areas painted black.
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It is unclear if this mix was arranged to highlight Mercedes’ sponsor decals during the shakedown running and associated filming or if the team will now strip off the black paint and expose more carbon when it comes to the upcoming start of the 2023 campaign.