This weekend’s São Paulo Grand Prix will mark the one-season anniversary of Mercedes’s last victory in Formula 1.

Mercedes that day appeared to be turning a corner after a difficult start to life under the then new regulations. The one-two led by George Russell was a shot in the arm and was assumed to be a sign that it would return to regular victory contention this season.

But 2023 has been scarcely better. Though the team has improved to second in the constructors standings, it is no closer to scoring a meritorious victory.

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The Silver Arrows are back in black for 2023.

Mercedes pulled the covers off its 2023 challenger, the W14, in a slick but understated online launch this week to reveal it was returning to the darker hues of its 2020–21 cars.

But the decision was about more than just style. As is increasingly the trend in Formula 1, much of the car is unpainted carbon fibre in a desperate measure to reach the minimum weight. The opportunity for a livery redux was just a bonus.

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