Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has pledged that he will fix the cockpit positioning issues that Lewis Hamilton has complained about this season. He noted that the team has to get ‘back to basics’ if they’re to take the fight to Red Bull moving forward.
Thanks to the consistent results of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes head into the final five races of the season with a 28-point advantage over rivals Ferrari in the battle for P2 in the Constructor Championship, but they remain a mammoth 331 points behind reigning champions Red Bull.
Hamilton himself is locked into a battle for P2, hunting down Sergio Perez who is ending the season with a whimper despite team-mate Max Verstappen running away with the World Championship. The legendary Brit had scored points at every single race in 2023 prior to his DNF in Qatar last Sunday.
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In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Wolff said: “We have to get back to basics. I don’t want to hear Lewis say anymore ‘My cockpit is too far forward’. We know what we understand and will not pay attention to what we do not understand.
“The biggest problem is that the drivers have no confidence in the car. We have to give them a solid foundation to score good points. There is only one man at the moment who stands head and shoulders above the rest.
“Ferrari, Aston Martin, McLaren and us are all in the same situation. At least we are second in the constructors’ championship, because after all these years we have learned how to optimise our results. It’s just that no one comes close to Verstappen.”
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Mercedes are hoping that by moving away from the design philosophy that inspired the W13 and the W14, they will solve some of the issues that they created for themselves, such as unfavourable cockpit positioning and relentless porpoising.
The W14 hasn’t been an inherently bad car. At times Mercedes have looked very quick in 2023 and were likely close to the pace of Red Bull in Qatar before a lap one tangle between Hamilton and team-mate George Russell jeopardised their race plan.
Unfortunately for Hamilton and Wolff, they now have to out-develop not only Red Bull but McLaren in 2024 with the Woking-based team making giant strides since the summer and claiming back-to-back double podiums ahead of the United States Grand Prix.
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