Lewis Hamilton warns Mercedes over Red Bull innovation
Lewis Hamilton insists Mercedes should not just adopt Red Bull-esque sidepods as it could make their troubled W14 car even slower.
Mercedes raised eyebrows at their 2023 car launch when they opted to persevere with their unique ‘no-sidepod’ design from last year, which saw the Silver Arrows relinquish their No 1 tag as they dropped to third in the pack behind Red Bull and Ferrari.
And the gap to Red Bull – who are the runaway team at the front currently – has grown after two races this season, with Christian Horner’s team earning a pair of one-two finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has acknowledged that a change in innovation is needed this season, with a new design in the works for the coming months, but seven-time world champion Hamilton warned his team about simply copying Red Bull’s flawless design.
“I think we have what we have and we’re going to continue to try to work on it and extract more from it, and then we’ll see how quick that can happen, or whether that’s possible with the concept we have,” Hamilton said in Jeddah at the weekend.
“And then in the short term we will start to find out whether or not we’ve got to make loads off big, drastic changes. I mean there are drastic changes we will do.
“People keep talking about getting the new sidepods on the car but it’s not as simple as that.
“You put the Red Bull sidepods on our car and it won’t change a thing, it literally won’t change a thing, it might even go slower.
“It’s about aero characteristics, it’s how the car is balanced through the corners. There’s so many different elements that people of course would not know because they’re not aerodynamicists and you can’t see it – there’s a lot more to it.”
Hamilton finished fifth in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and has now gone 25 races without a victory since winning in Saudi in December 2021.
After Bahrain, he told the media that he wasn’t listened to regarding the car design in the aftermath of the 2022 season, when Mercedes only managed won solitary win with George Russell’s first victory in Formula 1 in Brazil.
The 38-year-old, who parted ways with long-term confidante Angela Cullen next week, will next be in action at the Australian Grand Prix next week (31 March-2 April).