Toto Wolff addresses the problem that Lewis Hamilton is dealing with the 2023 Mercedes F1 car, but both remain coy in mentioning the exact thing.
For Mercedes, it’s been a mediocre start to F1 2023 for its drivers George Russell and Hamilton. The latter has had issues in the opening two Grands Prix, while Russell took fourth place in Saudi Arabia after a lot of debate.
While they are there and have been on the pace, there is still a lot of work to do and Hamilton himself did refer to downforce maladies that the team are experiencing. This is a fact not lost on team boss Wolff who freely admits to knowing of the problem but states it won’t be resolved overnight.
“We have a fundamental issue he’s not happy with, and that is linked to the way he feels the rear end of the car,” said Wolff when asked about the specific problem that Hamilton alluded to. “That’s not something that can be cured quickly”.
“The drivers are the most important sensors in the car and if they tell us that’s what they feel, we need to consider that,” summed up Wolff. Now Hamilton hasn’t fully explained the issue. However, it seems to be prevalent in making the car uncomfortable when on the limit particularly during qualifying.
“It’s on a massive knife edge when you’re above about 95%,” said Hamilton. “But when you’re in a race stint, it’s much more controllable and predictable.” The Brit, though, had more in depth talk about the down-force problem that they are suffering.
“We’re a long way down on down-force,” continued Hamilton. “So we’ve got to pick up the rear end down-force particularly. The more rear we gain, the more stable the rear becomes, and the more confident I’ll be able to attack. But I think in general, just this car, even if we do change that, there’s a specific thing with something on the car that I have never had before”.
“It’s a position I’ve not had in previous years’ cars. For me, it’s the thing that is making me uncomfortable. I’ve just got to work hard to make sure it is changed,” summed up Hamilton. The 2022 season saw the dreaded porpoising and Mercedes suffered more than most.
As it transpired, they finished the season very strongly despite really only mastering the problem halfway through the campaign but with porpoising gone, Mercedes found their problem to be a bit more related to the overall concept which is what they are now trying to solve.
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