Posting a photograph, but a heavily pixilated one, of Lewis Hamilton sitting in his all-new W15, questions are being asked about whether Mercedes have resolved his long-running complaints about the seating position.
Last season, off the pace and struggling with the rear of his W14, Mercedes put a heavily-revised car on the track at the Monaco Grand Prix.
While it was a step in the right direction, the team scrapping the zero-pods in favour of a bulkier sidepod layout, the car still had major weaknesses. One of those, Hamilton revealed, was the position of the driver’s seat.
Have Mercedes’ resolve the seat position issue that bothered Hamilton in 2023?
“We sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers,” revealed the seven-time World Champion to the media, including PlanetF1.com.
“Our cockpit is too close to the front. When you’re driving, you feel like you’re sitting on the front wheels which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you’re driving a car.
“So, what that does is it just really changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement. And it makes it harder to predict, compared to when you’re further back and you’re sitting closer, more centre.”
That, though, was one problem Mercedes couldn’t resolve last season.
“You can vary the cockpit position between, say, five and 15 centimetres,” team boss Toto Wolff said. “We’re a little further up and that’s what irritates Lewis, and has irritated him for the past year.
“We don’t know how much of an impact it has, but you have to take the feedback from the drivers seriously.”
But while Wolff doubted that it was a “big problem from a technical point of view”, the Austrian was very clear that he’d be listening to his drivers.
Whether 2024’s W15 is a step back, at least in the seating, you be the early judge…
Nothing to see here 😉 pic.twitter.com/LIZsqaNfck
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) January 30, 2024
Mercedes will unveil the W15 on 14 February before Hamilton and George Russell put in the first laps at the Silverstone circuit.
A week later the W15 will be on track at the Sakhir circuit for the start of 2024’s three days of pre-season testing.