Mercedes are returning to their ‘Black Arrows’ look from 2020-21, as they launched their 2023 F1 car at Brackley.
The team ditched their famous silver look following the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, to stand against racism and support diversity in F1.
After two seasons running in black, Mercedes returned to their chromed silver look for 2022, but that seems only temporary as they’ll once again be in black for 2023 – albeit for a different reason.
“We have gone with a black livery for the W14 in the name of performance,” team principal Toto Wolff said. “We have explored every opportunity to save weight, and this is true with the livery.
“We were overweight last year, this year we have tried to figure out where
we can squeeze out every single gram of weight. You will see that the car has some raw carbon bits, along with some that are painted matte black.”
Alfa Romeo have taken a similar approach, as they launched a maroon and black 2023 livery which will also see some parts of the car running as bare carbon – rather than the white and maroon numbers they’ve sported since 2018.
Wolff added that despite Mercedes divulging from their iconic team colours, it still upholds their traditions dating back to the genesis of the team.
The Silver Arrows were originally white, but found their cars were too heavy and so scraped off the paint and ran with the bare aluminium, helping power Juan Manuel Fangio to two world championships in the 1950s.
World Championship the target for Mercedes
Mercedes endured a difficult 2022 season – and not because their car was a few grams of paint overweight.
After 15 championships out of a possible 16 from 2014-2021, they were blindsided by proposing all season and only managed one race win.
However, Wolff stressed that they were eying a return to the top of the sport in 2023 after the team did show improvement over the course of the first season of new regulations.
“At the start of any new season, our hopes and expectations are always to be capable of
fighting for a World Championship,” Wolff added. “This year, we are going all in to get back in front.
“The W13 certainly had lots of performance which we never were able to unlock and put all its downforce on the ground. Our car performed very well at the end of the season. However, we still had the famous bouncing at some circuits and the car never gave the drivers good feedback, which limited them in being able to really push.
“We have tried to keep all the goodness of the W13 and address its weaknesses. Maintaining the good bits whilst adding all the learnings and improving the package overall.”