Lewis Hamilton commits to Mercedes until 2025
Mercedes technical director James Allison has accepted that the team have been ‘slow’ in meeting demands from Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to change parts of the car in 2023. The Silver Arrows have endured another disappointing campaign and with six races remaining, they are yet to taste victory, with Allison clear in his mind about who is to blame.
While Mercedes began the 2022 season with some shambolic performances, the mid-season upgrades arguably helped transform the W13 into the quickest car on the grid. That was reflected by the team’s 1-2 finish in Brazil, with George Russell claiming his maiden victory in F1.
Their hopes for an improvement this year were quickly dashed too, with Mercedes a second off Red Bull’s pace in the opening races, and while improvements have been made, Hamilton and Russell are still lagging behind Red Bull and even McLaren after their successful development.
Hamilton, in particular, is still far away from his best form and the 38-year-old is still awaiting his first win since Saudi Arabia in 2021. With that in mind, in addition to receiving Hamilton and Russell’s feedback on the W14 car, Allison has conceded the blame lies with the designers and engineers for failing to put things right.
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“As Lewis rightly points out, he doesn’t design the car, it’s our job to respond with the solutions that bring that,” Allison said on the F1 Nation podcast.
“But I think that he could rightfully say that both he and George have been saying a particular consistent thing about the car since the first laps of the 2022 cousin of this one and the 2023 version inherited that same behaviour, and we have been slow to react, slow to fix.”
Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff has promised to address the issues raised by his drivers with the design of their new car, the W15, for next year: “For 2024 we’re going to change a lot, trying to get back to basics,” he told Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport earlier this month.
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“I don’t want to hear Lewis saying, ‘I’m sitting too far ahead with the cockpit, suspension kinematics that we don’t understand’ and so on. We have to be decided on what we understand and what we don’t understand we have to put aside: it’s not about technical sophistication but about solid engineering.”
Hamilton has at least made progress in improving his own personal progress, having sunk to a career-low sixth in the Drivers’ Championship last year – behind Russell and Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. This year, only Sergio Perez is above him after Hamilton usurped his former rival Fernando Alonso and has 194 points to his name.
It hasn’t been the best of times for Russell, however, with the 25-year-old finishing on the podium only once this year compared to eight in 2022, which helped him accumulate an impressive total of 275 points. This year, he has fallen behind close friend Lando Norris to eighth on 132 points, with Mercedes hoping to make amends at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday.
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