Martin Brundle pinpoints glaring Mercedes W15 problem within continued struggles

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton on track with the Mercedes W15 at Suzuka with insets of Martin Brundle and a Mercedes logo

Martin Brundle has highlighted a 'grave concern' for Mercedes

Sky F1 commentator Martin Brundle says Mercedes’ inability to extract consistent performance from the W15 car is “very worrying” after a troubled start to the F1 2024 season.

Having been restricted to just a single victory across 2022/23, Mercedes had targeted a return to regular race-winning contention with the new-look W15 this year.

Martin Brundle: Mercedes W15 causing ‘grave concern’

However, the team are still awaiting a first podium finish of 2024 with Lewis Hamilton suffering his worst-ever start to a season with just 10 points from the opening four races.

Hamilton claimed to have achieved a breakthrough with the W15 after qualifying seventh for last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, but cut a frustrated figure following the race having slumped to ninth.

Mercedes have hinted over recent weeks that the team are battling correlation issues – whereby the on-track performance does not match up to the data from factory simulations – with team boss Toto Wolff referring to “a crook somewhere in the system” at Suzuka.

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Appearing on the Sky F1 podcast, Brundle claimed Mercedes’ struggle to reproduce the car’s brief flashes of pace on a consistent basis is a major concern.

He said: “They’ve got to understand this car and I think that’s the grave concern for all of the people there.

“There’s a lot of very clever people with a huge amount of resource and performance tools and budget, so I’m not going to try and second guess what’s wrong with it because if they don’t know, then I certainly don’t know.

“They cannot get a handle on these ground-effect cars. This is the third season.

“They turn up, they think they’ve aced it, positive noises – then it still bounces a little bit with the porpoising.

“Their problem is that, from time to time, the thing performs beautifully – and they’re really quite fast in phases – but they can’t seem to reproduce that session to session, let alone day to day, let alone grand prix to grand prix.

“So this is the problem they’ve got, this knife-edge of a car that sometimes looks like they finally sorted it, and more of the time they just can’t understand it.

“And when you’ve got that, when all of your tools and all of your clever people don’t correlate with the stopwatch and the performance of other cars on the track and you can’t seem to nail it down, then that’s really frustrating and I would say very worrying.”

Mercedes sit fourth in the Constructors’ standings after the first four races, already a massive 86 points adrift of second-placed Ferrari.

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