More worries over ‘very weak’ Mercedes emerge ahead of F1 2024 battle

Michelle Foster
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Mercedes secured P2 in the Constructors' standings, but also their first winless season since 2011.

Ralf Schumacher is worried Mercedes won’t be in the conversation next season after the team suffered a torrid time in Brazil, and without understanding where it went wrong.

After two Grands Prix where they showed podium-finishing pace on the back of the introduction of a new floor, Mercedes were left scratching their heads at the Interlagos circuit.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reported severe tyre degradation, understeer, and a “draggy” car that cost them positions in the Sprint and the Grand Prix.

‘Mercedes are not out of the woods yet’

Hamilton was the only one of the teammates to finish the race and did so down in eighth place having been P3 in the early running.

“The car,” the seven-time World Champion told Sky F1, “it’s like moments it works and then moments it doesn’t and it’s so inconsistent throughout the lap. So we have to figure out what that is.”

His team boss Toto Wolff labelled it an “inexcusable performance”, adding “that car finished second last week and the week before and, whatever we did to it, was horrible.

“I mean, the car almost drove like it was three wheels and not on four.”

Mercedes’ performance baffled the team, no one seeming to have any answers as to where it went wrong at the Interlagos circuit.

That has Schumacher worried about next season’s W15 as the team does “not understand” the car’s concept.

“Mercedes was very weak this weekend,” proclaimed Schumacher in his column for Sky Deutschland. “Afterwards, Toto Wolff was almost shocked at the Sky microphone.

“The problems can be explained by not understanding the concept. There was greater hope in Brazil, but everyone involved was disappointed.

“Therefore, I fear that Mercedes are not out of the woods yet. This worries Toto Wolff.”

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Toto Wolff promises ‘total change’ for the W15

Having delivered his scathing review of Mercedes’ performance after the race, and also calling it “totally baffling” and his worst Grand Prix in 13 years, Wolff

“There was something very fundamentally wrong, mechanically,” said Wolff.

“It’s not a rear wing, and it’s not the car being slightly too high because we’re talking a millimetre or two.

“That’s performance but it’s not the explanation for a total off [weekend].”

He added: “A lot of change [is needed]. But this is our route – a fundamentally different car next year.

“Today confirms that is the right thing to do.”

Mercedes have not won a Grand Prix this season, the Brackley squad facing their first win-less campaign since 2011.

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