Mercedes ‘worry’ for F1 2024 identified after woeful Brazil Grand Prix showing

Michelle Foster
Mercedes driver George Russell chases Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian GP.

Mercedes had a wretched weekend at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

As Mercedes blasted the W14 after a lacklustre Brazilian Grand Prix, Karun Chandhok is worried their troubles with this year’s car could carry over into next year’s W15.

Mercedes had a torrid weekend at the Interlagos circuit as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell struggles with tyre degradation and pace cost them positions in the Sprint and the Grand Prix.

While Russell retired with cooling issues, Hamilton, who had been running as high as third on Sunday, brought his W14 across the line in eighth place and stated he thought the “floor wasn’t working”.

Mercedes were left confused by their Brazilian woes

Given that was Mercedes’ latest upgrade and had led to back-to-back podium-finishing performances in Austin and Mexico, Toto Wolff admitted they were at a loss as to what went wrong in Brazil.

“That car finished second last week and the week before and, whatever we did to it, was horrible,” rued the team boss. “It shows how difficult the car is, it’s on a knife’s edge.

“We’ve got to develop that better for next year because it can’t be that, within seven days, you’re finishing on the podium as one of the two quickest cars and then you’re nowhere.”

Mercedes’ new floor, while initially hailed as a step in the right direction in both performance and confidence by Hamilton, was introduced as a barometer for the team’s 2024 preparations.

But with this past weekend’s pace in Brazil, former F1 driver turned Sky Sports commentator Chandhok says Mercedes should be worried.

“I think he [Hamilton] was only about 10 seconds away from being lapped,” he said. “So yeah, just I think there’s a lot of head-scratching going on there.

“They need to understand as a collective group where the root of this problem is because they’ve had the highs of the last couple of races where they were quick. Let’s not forget they were excluded in Austin.

“But you can’t produce a World Championship campaign and fight for the championship if you’ve got these ups and downs, with no clear understanding as to why.

“If you came to a track and said we know we’re going to struggle here, we know we’re going to be weak here, we’ll take it on the chin. That’s fine, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“They seem to have no clear understanding of why the highs are the highs and the lows of the lows. And I think that is a worry going into next year.”

He added: “This week they were slower than the AlphaTauris, Alpines, way slower than McLaren and Red Bull and Aston Martin. It’s just confusing.” recommends

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Put to the former drivers that it was the Sprint format with its one practice hour that hurt Mercedes in Brazil, Naomi Schiff replied: “I think for them if that’s the case, that will be a bit of a relief, rather than a more fundamental issue.

“But I guess at this point in the season when there’s only two races left for a World Championship-winning team, for a multiple championship-winning team, to struggle with a car for two seasons and be at this point so close to next season you’ve got to wonder are they going to stick to the same concept and keep building on it? Or are they really going to go back to the drawing board now?”

Mercedes are holding onto second place in the Constructors’ Championship by 20 points ahead of Ferrari with 56 points still in play.

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