With Lewis Hamilton’s seating position one of his bigger complaints about his W14, Toto Wolff says the team “will change the position” to make the driver more comfortable, and hopefully more confident in the car.
Facing the prospect of yet another season without a race win given Mercedes’ deficit to Red Bull, Hamilton recently spoke about some of his issues with this year’s W14. One of those, he revealed, is where he sits in the car.
“I don’t know if people know,” he said, “but we sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers. Our cockpit is too close to the front.
“When you’re driving, you feel like you’re sitting on the front wheels, which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you’re driving a car.”
He added that “what that does is it really changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement. And it makes it harder to predict compared to when you’re further back and sitting more centred.”
At the time Wolff said that was “one of the most important things” Mercedes were working on as they considered various upgrades for the W14.
But while the motorsport boss has not said if that’s on the list of their Miami Grand Prix upgrades, he insists it is something that’s “important” for Hamilton and so Mercedes are working on it.
“We don’t think it’s a big problem from a technical point of view,” he said as per Motorsport.com.
“We will change the position, optimise the car and make sure the driver is in a good position.”
According to the Austria, while George Russell is “pretty relaxed” about the seating position, it is something that is “important” for Hamilton.
He added: “We will find the right compromise.”
However, any changes Mercedes make need to be balanced against the budget cap, which Wolff admits “gives so many constraints.
“In the past, we wouldn’t even know what a front suspension costs and today we need to take the purchase price of the aluminium and then factor in how much the machining of it costs, how much you need to write off from the aluminium that you don’t need, price out every bolt that goes into the suspension, the carbon that you bought as the raw material then cut it and put it on…
“What is the energy cost of the composite room, the overhead that goes into it, and at the end comes out the product.
“This is super complex and it’s gone so far that we have cost analysts, engineers, that need to decide whether buying that kilogram of aluminium is worth the performance gain on the other side.
“That process is so difficult and painful; people that should be creative only and have carte blanche, they can’t do it because somebody is telling them whether it’s feasible in the cost cap or not.
“And that’s why it’s so important that everybody adheres to the cost cap. If you’re overshooting, every $10,000 matters.”