Helmut Marko spots Mercedes W15 weakness in ‘surprise’ admission over F1 woes

Oliver Harden
Helmut Marko laughing in the Melbourne paddock with a prominent Mercedes logo alongside him

Red Bull have overhauled Mercedes as F1's dominant force, much to the delight of Helmut Marko

Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko has been left “surprised” by Mercedes’ ongoing F1 woes, claiming the chassis is the main area of weakness with the W15 car.

Having won a record eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships from the start of F1’s V6 hybrid era in 2014, Mercedes have been restricted to just a single race win since the ground effect rules were introduced in 2022.

Helmut Marko ‘surprised’ by Mercedes W15 struggles

Mercedes had hoped to return to title contention in 2024 with the new-look W15 car, but are still awaiting a first podium finish of the new season having struggled through the first four races.

With just 10 points to his name so far this season, seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton – who announced in February that he will join Ferrari on a multi-year contract next year – has described 2024 as his worst-ever start to a season.

Red Bull have emerged as F1’s dominant force over recent years, with three-time World Champion Max Verstappen winning 47 of the last 70 races since the start of his maiden title-winning campaign in 2021.

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Speaking to Austrian publication Kleine Zeitung, Marko has admitted to being surprised by Mercedes’ inability to get it right under the current rules.

Asked to explain how Mercedes have lost touch with the top, he said: “That’s a good question, I was surprised myself.

“In Brazil 2022, after George Russell’s victory, they believed that things would get better.

“So far, they have not been consistent, the car works very well on some tracks and at some times and then not at all.

“The reasons are certainly more to do with the chassis; they haven’t really found a solution yet.”

Marko’s comments come after Hamilton revealed Mercedes plan to take the W15 in a “new direction” at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, having claimed to have made a breakthrough in his understanding of the car at the previous race in Japan.

He said: “Nothing’s changed with our car, so it’s going to be the same car this weekend.

“But we understand it a little bit more. We look at the last weekend, we did make improvements and so bringing some of those learnings into this weekend. And then on top of that, some new direction again.

“I think if we could go back, you would have done things differently. That’s hindsight and experience.

“So we’re trying to bring that here this weekend and see if we can implement some of those changes we would have done perhaps further in Suzuka and hopefully that can find us a bit of performance.”

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