Lewis Hamilton has been in a state of frustration pretty much since the launch of the new Mercedes W14 challenger of 2023. He’s clearly been pressurising the team to move away from the concept behind Mercedes first ground effect car design launched last year.
Following the first race in Bahrain, Hamilton delivered am unusually candid rant at his engineers, claiming they’d not listened to his inout over the poor driving characteristics of the W13 and issued a call which sounded very much like he believed ‘heads should roll.’
Wolff backed Hamilton in Mercedes’ ‘civil war’
Toto Wolff quickly backed his star driver over what must have been a behind the scenes wrangle over which Mercedes’ boss had been forced to adjudicate.
The phrase “civil war” was used by a number of experienced F1 observers of the battle back in Brackley, though it now appears Lewis cannot have his way this season because the alternations he is demanding to the seating position would require a complete chassis redesign.
And this is beyond the budget constraints.
Lewis questions the team’s absence for celebrations
Hamilton once known as the master over one lap has now been beaten 3-0 in qualifying this year by his less experienced team mate George Russell.
Yet Hamilton’s clouds do come with silver linings as he leads Russell by 20 points in the drivers title race and he is the one who claimed Mercedes’ first podium of the year in Australia.
However, even then Hamilton was perturbed following the parc ferme weigh in as he questioned fans as to the whereabouts of his team for the usual pre-podium celebrations.
FIA’s goal to improve overtaking
Hamilton has now turned his sights on the FIA claiming the big rule changes for F1 car designs have not achieved the sporting body’s intentions.
Because the next generation of F1 power units failed to be implemented for the 2022 season, the FIA decided they would still switch up the aerodynamic regulations instead.
The goal was to improve overtaking by reducing the amount of downforce the cars gain from the aerodynamics over the top of the car. This would also reduce ‘the dirty air’ or turbulence behind the ears which made following a similar paced car difficult.
Hamilton claims “dirty air” no better
When asked about the dirty air he’s experiencing this with this year’s cars, Hamilton tells Motorsport Week, ”it’s the same as the past.”
“I think last year for us was pretty bad with the bouncing, because you’ve got the turbulence and the bouncing, whereas this year we don’t have the bouncing, so we have less issues following cars.
“I think it’s still a little bit better than the previous generation of cars. But hasn’t delivered everything that it said it would, so got some improvements to make hopefully for the future.”
Ironic the FIA changes down to Mercedes’ complaints
The irony of Hamilton’s views lie in the fact that the car design regulations were intended to remain the same from 2022 where most drivers believed following another car was now much easier.
The prime reason the FIA altered the regulations was due to Mercedes’ protesting the rules on car design claiming they needed alternation to eliminate the bouncing.
While a number of drivers have reported the change for 2023 has made this years iteration of cars more difficult to follow closely, only Hamilton to date has called for the FIA to act.
LeClerc agrees rule change was bad
Ferrari’s Charles LeClerc did reveal that during the Saudi Grand Prix he had issues when he found himself in traffic.
“I could have gone a bit faster, but when I was closer than a second to Carlos [Sainz], you felt the turbulence of the car in front of you,” the Monegasque reported after the Jeddah race.
The result of the Mercedes’ inspired 2023 regulation changes from the FIA appear to have made the Red Bull car even more dominant than before.
Hamilton feeling the pressure
Hamilton is clearly feeling the pressure and despite Mercedes’ scoring more than double the points of Ferrari to date, this may prove a false position coming the final reckoning.
Its clear Hamilton’s persistent negative feelings he expresses at each race weekend can be doing nothing for his confidence.
Russell has the opportunity to make the Mercedes’ paring qualifying record 4-0 against Lewis next time out in Baku. Should this happening, Hamilton’s personal cloud may turn into a thunderstorm.
— FormulaNerds 🤓🏁 (@Formula_Nerds) April 2, 2023