Lewis Hamilton says he is actively contributing to the creation of next year’s Mercedes, despite having no plans yet to test it in the sim.
It has provided a dual challenge this season of honing the current challenger, in Mercedes’ case the W12, while simultaneously ensuring no time is lost in coming up with the car that will carry next year’s hopes.
Hamilton has been playing his part while competing for what would be a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ World Championship title.
A great win for our first time in Qatar. #TEAMLH you keep us going, we keep pushing and we feel your energy more than ever. It’s been one hell of a year but I love this battle. Getting right back to work, focused and ready for the final two races. We win & we lose together. pic.twitter.com/sGHFwBcV8c
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 21, 2021
Thus he does not want to be distracted by trying out the early iteration of the 2022 car in the sim – which has already started at Ferrari and McLaren, for example – but is still providing advice about what it should and should not feature from a driver’s perspective.
“I haven’t driven the car in the sim because I’ve literally just been focusing on this one,” said the 36-year-old Briton, quoted by Motorsport.com. “It’s been a hard enough workload as it is.
“But I’m in constant contact with the team. Even after our races, I’m always talking about ‘this is where our car is right now and these are the things I want on next year’s car, keep an eye out for these things. These are the issues I have with the engine, I don’t want to see that next year, please fix it’.
“I’m constantly having these conversations with heads.”
Hamilton often speaks of the lengths to which he and Mercedes go to extract every microscopic amount of performance from their car, and says those discussions have already extended to the 2022 version.
“When I come away from the races, my big meetings I usually have with Shov (Andrew Shovlin, trackside engineering director), [are] generally at the end of the week once they have collated all the data,” said Hamilton.
“Then I have my meeting with Bono (Pete Bonnington, race engineer) and then one with the team working on next year’s car, just to get an update on where they are – whether it’s heavily rearwards aero or forwards aero, what kind of ride heights we can expect, what issues they anticipate, challenges they are having and what they anticipate it will be like in the car.
“But right now, with the progress it’s making in the wind tunnel, there is no point driving the car because it’s on a steep learning curve.”