Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes ‘didn’t listen’ to me on W14, ‘I know what a car needs’
Lewis Hamilton has called for accountability at Mercedes as he told them what the W14 needed and he was not listened to.
The F1 2023 season has not got off to a positive start for Mercedes, the team which after failing to mount a title challenge in 2022 wanted to immediately right that wrong this time around.
But, as Hamilton crossed the line P5 at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, he warned over the radio that “serious work” awaits for the team, though has faith in them to close the gap to not only runaway leaders Red Bull, but also to get the better of Ferrari and Aston Martin, which they could not do in Bahrain either.
Hamilton was rather encouraging in that message, but speaking in a post-race interview with Rosanna Tennant on BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast, Hamilton took a more critical stance with his team.
Having raced in every Formula 1 season since 2007, Hamilton says his vast experience means he knows “what a car needs”.
However, he says that the Mercedes team has not followed through on his guidance when creating the W14, and believes that cannot be allowed to slide.
“Last year, I told them the issues that are with the car,” said Hamilton. “Like, I’ve driven so many cars in my life, so I know what a car needs, I know what a car doesn’t need.
“And I think it’s really about accountability, it’s about owning up and saying ‘yeah, you know what, we didn’t listen to you, it’s not where it needs to be and we’ve got to work’.
“We’ve got to look into the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points and just huddle up as a team, that’s what we do.
“We’re still multi World Champions you know, it’s just they haven’t got it right this time, they didn’t get it right last year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get it right moving forwards.”
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Hamilton, alongside his former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso, did treat us to one of the highlights of the Bahrain GP when they went to battle in the race, Hamilton ultimately coming out on the losing side.
And Hamilton said that the current situation with the W14 reminds him of the cars that he sometimes had at McLaren, where some of those were not quite strong enough to really put him in the fight.
But, now faced with this situation at Mercedes, he says as a collective they are going to have to turn it around.
“I enjoyed that I managed to have a couple of battles,” said the seven-time World Champion. “And it was close, but not quite there.
“And I’ve had many cars like this, particularly back in the McLaren days, and I don’t know when or how we’re going to do it in terms of turning it around, but it’s going to have to happen.”