Lewis Hamilton reckons his choice of words was perhaps too much but he sticks by it, as Toto Wolff adds his views on internal meetings.
The 2023 Bahrain GP was a frustrating race for Mercedes and their drivers Hamilton who took fifth place and teammate George Russell who was seventh. But the seven-time champion was a bit more frustrated who stated that there were times that the team did not listen to him with regards to the W14 during its development.
In a an interview with BBC 5Live, Hamilton was bit more candid about the inner team talks which created a media stir about differences. But in Saudi Arabia, the Brit agreed that his choice of words may not have been that good even though he stuck to the main point about certain disagreements which is bound to happen.
He knows that Mercedes will have to get to the crux of the problems they have had as a time and get to winning ways and fast. Hamilton notes that bold decisions are being taken, but it was a shock when things didn’t pan out as they were supposed to be with the W14 after a difficult time with the W13.
Candid interview about issues –
Hamilton: “I mean, in hindsight, I think looking back, it wasn’t necessarily the best choice of words. I mean, there are, of course there are times when you’re not in agreement with certain team members. But what’s important is that we continue to communicate, we continue to pull together. I still have 100% belief in this team, it is my family and I’ve been here a long time. So I don’t plan on going anywhere else. But we all need a kick, we all need to get on. We’ve seen the proof is in the pudding and we’ve seen where the performance is and how people are extracting the performance.
“And we’ve got to now start making some bold decisions, some big moves in order to close the gap to these guys. Otherwise, they will run away with it most likely this year, unless Ferrari can stop them, which we’ll wait and see. But as I said, hopefully, at some point during the year, we’re hopeful we might be able to close the gap. But at that point it’ll be probably be too late in terms of fighting for a championship, but we could still turn some heads, hopefully.”
Bold decisions –
Hamilton: “I think we’re in the process of it. Yes.”
Knew about the gamble with W14 –
Hamilton: “I think the comments that I would hear is that we probably won’t hit the ground straight away at the front but we should be there or thereabouts. So yeah, it was a bit of a shock when that wasn’t obviously the case. I knew that we weren’t in the right place. When you saw the car for the first time, it looks still so much different to those that that are our competitors. And it’s always nerve racking in that moment. But it looked nice. Obviously, the colour looks nice, but I honestly don’t care what colour it is as long as it’s quick. But we will hopefully mould it into a winning car at some stage.”
Meanwhile, Wolff acknowledged the discussions within the team and did not feel too bad about Hamilton revealing things. The Austrian figured that these are the things which can easily make controversies in today’s media which is why Mercedes has been transparent as much in admitting the shortcomings and work needed to be done.
Words of Hamilton –
Wolff: “We speak all the time, but it’s not a single word that matters in the team because we know each other so well. We know there are emotions at play with him, with me, with many others in the team and that we wear our hearts on our sleeves, and sometimes you say things that in the media being very quickly translated in a controversial way or polarising, which, inside of the team, never cause any waves because we know that the emotions can run high. And to be honest, if I’m watching a lap time deficit, a coming together or a race that doesn’t go well, I’d also like to say that I’m not happy where the team, where the car has been developed to. But that’s OK inside of the team, we want the emotion high and we have tough love, we are saying it straight out when it’s missing and nobody’s ever going to… not take it on the chin in the team.
Plan of action –
Wolff: “There’s many big and many good meetings happening in the team and it’s quite an interesting process because… We had the perfect storm last year because the car got better and better and then you start to question the concept of the car less than you probably should. And now we have to prove that we’re not happy where we’ve landed, we’re overall not happy about the amount of downforce, the mechanical balance, I mean all of it, it never comes alone. And I think all these meetings are giving us more clarity, and more focus where we need to tackle in order to turn this around quickly.”
Letter to fans being honest and transparent –
Wolff: “It can always go worse, don’t remind me of that Q1 last year, that’s still a little bit of a trauma. I think we really over those 10 years have created a culture which is around tough love. We were able to have conversations that are maybe in some other groups or companies or teams out of the ordinary, but in our team we are just able to confront each other with the reality. And the reality is always based on our own expectations of our own performances and now we can say, you know we got it wrong last year and this is where it was and we really continue to push hard to get the car to a better place.
“And at the end of the season, we were able to win a Grand Prix and we were in a way respectable considering where we started the year. So going into 2023, the expectations were, we’re going to close the gap more and we’re going to be able to win more races and hopefully fight for a championship and that hasn’t happened and therefore, after Bahrain, this is the status quo. And it will be the status quo in Jeddah because there ain’t no miracles in the sport and we’re just honest about it. And we take the responsibility and accountability. I hate the results, because of what we all expected from ourselves, and so does everybody else in the team.”
Here’s George Russell fine with sacrificing now for future
Here’s Mercedes writing a letter to its fans