For several years in the hybrid era, Mercedes seemed an untouchable force in Formula 1. Unfortunately for the Silver Arrows, a series of mistakes in development since 2022 have relegated them from title contention.
A race victory for George Russell in Brazil gave the German outfit a significant boost going into the winter break. However, it is likely this win only increased the team’s belief in an eventually failed sidepod philosophy.
James Allison is now overseeing development for the 2024 season, with Mercedes preparing to implement large-scale changes over winter.
Speaking after a frustrating weekend in Monza, Lewis Hamilton didn’t hide the W14’s lack of performance.
“I have to live with the car we have at the moment,” it.motorsport quotes him as saying.
“It was the third fastest car today, and it’s obviously painful for all of us.
“We would like to be faster, but we’re counting the days until February [for the new car].”
The 7-time Champion made similar comments after announcing his contract extension with Mercedes, making his ambitions for the next two years clear:
“We have never been hungrier to win. We have learnt from every success, but also every setback… we will win again.”
Nobody denies that Toto Wolff’s team have the necessary resources and infrastructure to compete with Red Bull for the drivers’ championship.
Furthermore, McLaren and Aston Martin have demonstrated how quickly teams can improve, either mid-season or over the winter break.
For most of the year, Mercedes’ objective was to carry out corrective changes to establish a reliable baseline to build upon for these regulations.
Though raw performance is still not where the team want, they can still fight for podiums relatively consistently – even with their clear mistakes in 2023.
Therefore, Mercedes will be optimistic about their ability to make bigger steps forward over the winter and become contenders.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang