Lewis Hamilton: ‘I’ve been asking for fundamental changes for over a year’

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes garage. F1 Saudi Arabia March 2023.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in the garage ahead of qualifying. Jeddah March 2023.

Lewis Hamilton says he has been asking for “fundamental changes” to be made to the Mercedes car design for “over a year.”

The Mercedes team are still struggling to get to grips with this new era of ground effect aerodynamics which was ushered into Formula 1 in time for the 2022 campaign.

Rather than continuing their title-contending ways, Mercedes have been forced over the past 18 months to take a back seat while Red Bull hoover up the wins and titles, with F1 2023 having begun with a similar recovery mission required to that of last season.

Lewis Hamilton says “real, real progress” is coming

After stumbling out of the blocks in F1 2023 at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes decided there and then that it was time to ditch their unique ‘zero-pod’ concept and follow a design more closely resembling the Red Bull RB19, with their performances in Spain and Canada, yielding P2 and P3 finishes respectively for Hamilton, suggesting progress had been made.

The next stage of development for the W14 is set to arrive at the British Grand Prix which follows Austria where Formula 1 is currently visiting – and over the next few months, Hamilton says, we can expect Mercedes to keep striding forwards.

“Yeah, finally!” Hamilton replied when asked by reporters if Mercedes are now on the right path.

“We brought a lot of upgrades last year, and we did make some progress.

“But we found with this generation of car, adding performance was not easy. When you added performance in the wind tunnel, it looked like it was real performance.

“But then you put them on the car, and the car would bounce more. And so finally this year, we’re starting to make changes to the car that actually do improve the car, and don’t add more bouncing.

“We’ve taken a step in the right direction. But I don’t think we’ve completely got to where we are going in terms of that direction.

“I think we’re still turning. But we’ve got progress, real, real progress that’s coming over the next coming months, which is really exciting to see.

“So yeah, I can’t wait. And just in terms of being in the car, I’m starting to feel more confident in it. So finally feeling more like a race car.”

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Lewis Hamilton has been on year-plus push for “fundamental changes”

That being said, Hamilton warned that if this progress is to continue and really crank up into 2024, then Mercedes are going to need to bring in further “fundamental changes” for that to happen.

Hamilton did not reveal what those are, beyond highlighting that the “rear end” of the Mercedes needs improving, but did say he has been asking for them to be made for over a year now.

It was earlier in the season that Hamilton caused a stir when he claimed Mercedes had not listened to his feedback on the W13 when developing their F1 2023 challenger.

“Ultimately, there are fundamental changes that have to change for next year,” said Hamilton.

“And I’ve been asking for it for over a year. So I expect to have that in future, which I think will definitely help.

“But it’s not only that, it’s the rear end, and how it rotates through a corner. But we’re working on that, and the team are very, very focused on that.

“I think we’ve got some progress coming over the coming months, which will help also help rectify that. So I’m excited.”

Red Bull’s current dominance of Formula 1, having taken eight wins from eight to start the F1 2023 season, means Hamilton is facing the prospect of going another season without victory, having done so for the first time in his F1 career in 2022.

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