Mercedes have introduced long-awaited updates to their W14 in Monaco this weekend as they seek to turnaround their fortunes and cut their performance deficit to pace-setters Red Bull. 

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The major design development features new sidepods, front suspension and floor, with Mercedes finally abandoning their controversial ‘zeropod’ concept. 

Asked what he made of Mercedes’ shift towards a more conventional sidepod concept, Horner replied: “Well, to be honest, I haven’t had an in depth look at the upgrades. 

“Obviously, visually, they look a bit different.

“But sometimes the visual things actually have the least performance impact. It’s what’s usually underneath the skin or the finer detail that has the biggest impact.” 

Horner, whose Red Bull team last year were found guilty of breaching the F1 cost cap regulations during Max Verstappen’s maiden title-winning campaign in 2021, suggested Mercedes would have committed a large portion of their budget to the upgrades. 

“So obviously they’ve bought a significant amount of parts,” Horner noted. 

“So they’ve obviously committed a significant part of their budget cap to this upgrade, and it’s up to a team how and when it applies it.”

After being cut down to $140m for 2022, the F1 cost cap has been reduced further to $135m for 2023 through 2025.