Imola had been pinpointed as the date Mercedes were going to bring much-needed updates to their underperforming 2023 challenger, but this weekend’s race was called off because of deadly flooding in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region. 

Wednesday’s news has inadvertently put a dent in Mercedes’ plans but a team spokesperson has confirmed to that they will not delay their major upgrade package. 

The upgrade will therefore be introduced in Monaco, rather than being pushed back to the following weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at the more traditional Barcelona circuit. 

It is believed that a new sidepod design, marking a departure from the team’s infamous ‘zeropod’ concept, will be the most visible change, alongside a new floor and front suspension.

Mercedes’ decision not to delay their upgrade is bold – particularly in the F1 cost cap era – given the perilous nature of Monte Carlo’s famous barrier-lined streets. 

The unique challenge posed by the legendary Monaco circuit would usually deter teams from bringing major updates at the risk of them being potentially written off. 

Mercedes must have plenty of spares in reserve, or are placing their full faith in Lewis Hamilton and George Russell avoiding barriers that have caught out some of F1’s best drivers over the years. 

It is understandable though, given Mercedes need as much track time as possible to gather data and understand how their updated W14 works, even if Monaco is not the optimum venue for this. 

Considering all the risks associated with a Monaco deployment, it appears that another lost weekend of evaluation is simply not an option for Mercedes.

After all, the once-dominant Silver Arrows are pinning their hopes on the highly-anticipated upgrade enabling them to reduce Red Bull’s advantage as a “first step” on a potentially long road to getting back to the front of the grid. 

“We are hoping to bring other updates later in the year,” trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin recently explained. 

“We do hope it is quicker, we hope it is better in terms of qualifying and race pace.

“We are looking to head off in a different development direction, one that we think gives us a better chance in the long term of being able to challenge for race wins and world championships.”

Whether Mercedes get the answers they are looking for in Monaco, or have to wait until Barcelona for a clearer picture, remains to be seen.