Lewis Hamilton reveals main reason behind black livery but ‘everyone in the team preferred it anyway’

Toby Miles
Lewis Hamilton speaks to media. Mexico October 2022.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton smiles while being interviewed in Mexico City. October 2022.

Mercedes ditching their silver livery is “all about performance”, according to Lewis Hamilton. Fortunately, the team wanted to be back in black anyway.

The Silver Arrows painted the W11 and W12 black for their stiflingly dominant 2020 campaign and Hamilton’s near-miss in 2021, before bringing the German manufacturer’s traditional colours back last year.

The updated technical regulations bit Mercedes in 2022, allowing Red Bull to charge out of sight and sweep both Championships. Despite winning six of their eight Constructors’ titles in silver, the shade lost its shine last year.

Hoping to avenge the first winless season of Hamilton’s Formula 1 career and build on George Russell’s maiden Grand Prix victory, Mercedes have brought black back.

“Pretty much everyone in the team, or in the garage at least, preferred the black car from before. So everyone’s with it, everyone likes it,” Hamilton told press including PlanetF1.com following the W14 launch event.

“Ultimately, weight is a key goal for us. We were overweight all of last year, so we were carrying a weight penalty even into the last race.

“So that’s been a heavy focus to try to make sure that that’s not the case this year, we’ll find out next week whether or not we’ve hit that mark.

“Even last year, when they thought they were going to be on weight, we were way over.

“So I’m glad that’s been taken seriously and that’s what we see in the paint, we see a lot of carbon and not too much paint on the car, just the bare minimum.

“For me, it’s positive, because that means that means it’s all about performance and it’s not necessarily how the car looks. It’s about how quick it goes.”

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Mercedes have committed hardest to the exposed carbon trend that has swept across through paddock this winter, with most teams choosing not to paint certain section of their 2023 machines.

It wasn’t only weight on the dominant turbo-hybrid era engineers’ minds, as Mercedes must eliminate their porpoising issues to unlock the W14’s pace.

A surprise to some, the German manufacturing giants have stuck with their zero-pod concept, which continues to contrast with the all-conquering Red Bull machine.

Few foresaw Mercedes’ shocking slump last year, after the German’s team took a wrong turn in development of the W13, resulting in brain-rattling porpoising for Hamilton and Russell on fast straights.

Hamilton even failed to make it to Q3 in Saudi Arabia and at Imola, as the British icon seemed ever more demoralised. Mercedes toiled away to reduce their deficit throughout the season and eventually things picked up, with Hamilton returning to the podium before the Russell-led 1-2 in Brazil.