Lewis Hamilton ‘both helping and hindering’ Mercedes with negative W14 feedback

Sam Cooper

Mercedes’ technical chief James Allison has said recent comments by Lewis Hamilton about the team are both a help and a hindrance.

With the Mercedes’ car performance not what he is used to, Hamilton has not been backwards in coming forwards in regards to what he would change about its design.

The seven-time World Champion has become increasingly frustrated when those suggestions fell on deaf ears and technical chief Allison has revealed how that impacts the team.

Mercedes chief highlights where Lewis Hamilton feedback is helpful

The relationship between driver and designer seemed strained earlier on this year when Mercedes decided to stick with their zero-pod design, prompting Hamilton to reveal they “didn’t listen” to him when it came to his feedback, going on to say he “knows what a car needs.”

Mercedes eventually dropped the unique design which did bring a boost in performance and it is understood Hamilton’s feedback has been taken more into conversation for 2024.

Appearing on the F1 Nation podcast, Allison was asked whether Hamilton’s comments were a help or a hindrance and he suggested they were a “bit of both.”

“I think that drivers sometimes conflate identifying a problem with knowing what the solution is,” the 55-year-old said. “Where it’s a massive help is the accurate description of what is difficult about extracting lap time from the car.

“If they can say ‘here it is letting me down because the front axle is too weak, here it’s letting me down because the rear axle is too weak. Here, it just feels bizarre and I don’t trust it’ that’s ever so helpful because you can have a million pressure sensors on the car, loads of load cells, accelerometers up the ying yang, but ultimately, those are a little bit sort of stunted in their ability to tell you truly what the car is doing.

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“The driver is a much better sensor. So if a driver says ‘the car’s lacking rear downforce, bang, I’ve solved it, go to the rear downforce shop, get me some downforce’ then that’s the point where it becomes slightly less helpful.

“But at that point, we just have to accept the car is lacking in a certain thing and it’s our job as Lewis rightly points out.

“He doesn’t design the car, it’s our job to respond with the solutions that bring that. But I think that he could rightfully say that both he and George [Russell] had been saying a particular consistent thing about the car since the first laps of the 2022 cousin of this one and the 2023 version inherited that same behaviour and we have been slow to react, slow to fix.”

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