Mercedes make W14 breakthrough as Las Vegas complaints loom – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell run nose to tail in their Mercedes W14s during the Brazilian Grand Prix. F1 news

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell run nose to tail in their Mercedes W14s.

Sunday’s F1 news sees focus turn to Las Vegas, with the most hotly-anticipated race for some time looming large on the F1 calendar.

Preparations in Nevada are ramping up as Formula 1 prepares to descend on the city, with a huge amount of effort having already gone in to getting it race-ready – playing card-style kerbs included. (Well worth looking up, honest).

Drivers and teams are already making their way over to America for the final double-header of the 2023 season, so here’s a look at the best of Sunday’s F1 news headlines.

Mercedes now know where Brazilian GP troubles lie

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said the team have gone into detail to try and work out where their problems were at Interlagos last weekend, and have found the source of it.

Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had low straight-line speed and were swallowed up by quicker cars in DRS zones last Sunday, leaving Hamilton down in eighth and Russell having to retire through concerns about his power unit.

But with two races to go, Mercedes believe they now know where they went wrong in Sao Paulo.

“After promising performances in the US and Mexico, we didn’t perform at our best in Brazil,” Wolff said.

“We have been hard at work to identify the wrong turn we took with the set-up; we have done that. We understand our mistakes and can explain our performance loss to the field. That’s important as we look to secure P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.

“In parallel, we have been preparing for the challenge of racing at a venue that is a complete unknown. We have prepared the best we can, using the limited information we have, and there are some unique characteristics we can anticipate.”

Read more: Mercedes make key discovery and ‘can explain’ Brazilian Grand Prix disaster

Pirelli preparing for tyre complaints in cold Las Vegas nights

Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola believes F1’s tyre manufacturer are going to be at the centre of conversation in Las Vegas, with concerns about tyre warm-up at the forefront of people’s minds.

The extremely long straights around the new Vegas track and cold night temperatures, forecast to be as low as 3°C, mean that tyre warm-up will be a huge issue for the drivers and teams at the weekend.

Despite using the softest tyres in the Pirelli range, the layout and temperatures might make life difficult for the drivers over the course of a stint.

“I believe that we are going to talk about Pirelli in Vegas because of the temperature,” Isola admitted.

“The asphalt is quite smooth according to the information I have and so the level of grip will be very poor, I can anticipate this.

“Even if we selected the three softest compounds in the range, I can imagine that with these super cool conditions and a circuit that is not generating a lot of energy into the tyre, the warm up will be tricky.”

Read more: Pirelli braced for more complaints as Las Vegas Grand Prix looms large

Max Verstappen issues blunt response to concerns his dominance ‘not good for F1’

Max Verstappen is not concerned at all that his dominance of Formula 1 might be hurting the sport as a whole, given the fact a “real fan” would appreciate how the best teams go about their work.

With Formula 1 heading back to the United States this week, he used a famous basketball example to illustrate what he meant.

“The NBA survived when the Chicago Bulls were dominating,” he told TIME magazine.

“At the time, or even afterwards, people are like, ‘Oh, that was amazing.’ If you are a real fan of the sport, you should be able to appreciate a team doing very well.

“I don’t think it was necessarily bad what was happening to Formula 1, because we were just better than everyone else. If people can’t appreciate that, then you are not a real fan.”

Read more: Max Verstappen addresses concerns over F1 dominance with NBA reference

Toto Wolff gives light to Mike Elliott departure

With the shock announcement of long-time technical boss Mike Elliott leaving Mercedes recently, Toto Wolff explained that he wanted to step back from the world of Formula 1.

The Mercedes team principal said he leaves with no ill will at all, and is one of the brightest brains he has had the chance to work with in the sport.

“I think it’s clear Mike was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever worked with, great personality and a lovely family and he has contributed so much to the team’s success over the last 11 years that he’s been there,” Wolff told Channel 4.

“And it’s just been super tough for him in the last two years. He felt like he needed a break from Formula 1, he needed to consolidate what he wants to do and we’ve respected that decision.”

Read more: Toto Wolff opens up on actual Mike Elliott exit reason ‘respected’ by Mercedes

Where are they now? Las Vegas edition

Some light nostalgia to finish, as Formula 1’s return to Las Vegas comes over 40 years since the ill-fated Caesars Palace Grands Prix of the early 1980s.

The return of F1 to Sin City is on a much, much grander scale this time around, however – but we have taken a deep dive into years gone by and reminisced at some of the names on the grid from the last race in Vegas.

Of course we’re biased, but for fans of F1 history, this is for you.

Read more: Where are they now? The 17 biggest names from F1’s last race in Las Vegas