Mercedes internal dispute over F1 car future

All is not well at Mercedes AMG F1, having dominated the sport for almost a decade, the team now finds itself in a four way fight amongst its Formula One rivals to be ‘the best of the rest’ behind Red Bull.

This of course happens from time to time, having won consecutive drivers’ and constructor title from 2010-2013, Red Bull and their power unit supplier entered the wilderness with the advent of the new V6 hybrid regulations.




Mercedes a ‘disconnected’ team

Yet Mercedes present as though they are a disconnected outfit with the left hadn’t not knowing what the right hand is doing.

Toto Wolff declared before the winter break that the W13 would be scrapped and a car would arise from the ashes but containing a completely new ‘DNA.’

Then at the launch of the W14, tech director Mike Elliot went to great pains to explain the new car retained much of the goodness of the old one.

“You’ll see there’s quite significant changes in the bodywork, but the core DNA is still the same,” Elliot explained to the assembled media.



Wolff wants to focus on next year

Whilst Mercedes launched a B-Spec car in Monaco, the DNA will remain the same until they can redesign the chassis and tub, a job reserved for the budget of next seasons challenger.

Despite Elliot being replaced by James Allison, there again seems a lack of harmony when it comes to plotting the way forward for the Mercedes F1 car design.

Toto Wolff was asked after a disappointing qualifying in Silverstone which saw Hamilton and Russell just P6 and P7 when Mercedes would switch their attention to next seasons car.

“I think pretty soon,” replied Wolff. “We have no choice.

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Allison says too early

Yet James Allison at the Mercedes debrief from the British Grand Prix has a far more nuanced attitude towards the teams future progress.

When questioned whether there is the hope of a McLaren style upgrade that will return Mercedes to the front of their current battle Allison had this to say:

“Well, simple answer is yes. We’re only around about halfway through the season and and there’s still plenty more development to come in these cars. 

‘All of the teams will of course be turning their attention to next year, and that will sort of just defang all of us a little bit in terms of the rate at which we can improve our cars.



Another five races development time

“But for each of us and for us, absolutely there are improvements that we would like to make on the current car that we know will also carry into next year so it doesn’t feel like sort of throwing good money after bad. It feels like you’re investing in both seasons with those upgrades.”

“So for us yes, you’ll see the upgrades coming for a little while longer. I suspect for the others too.”

This is in stark contrast to how Lewis Hamilton would like to see the future. The seven times world champion wants his team to follow the Red Bull example and rebuild their current car from the bottom up over the winter.

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Hamilton strong views on future

“Our car… we have a lot of work to do. I think I know exactly what we need to do and we need to have some serious conversations about what we’re going to do moving forward,” Hamilton said after the British Grand Prix.

“The McLaren is proof of the direction that they’ve gone, it was impressive how quick they were in high speed,” added the British driver.

Hamilton has locked horns with Wolff over the McLaren upgrade after Lewis was seen studying the car that finished in second ahead of him at Silverstone. Hamilton believes the Red Bull lookalike sidepods and bodywork is the reason for McLaren’s huge leap forward in the pecking order.

The Mercedes boss refutes this is the way to go claiming that Mercedes’ had examined the Red Bull sidepod concept before the launch of their 2022 car but the aerodynamic data revealed it was slower than the path Mercedes’ chose.



Allison represents continuity

Mercedes technical director James Allison has called for Mercedes need to press on with more upgrades this year because there is a lot to be gained from not switching too early to the 2024 car. 

He told the assembled crew in Brackley, “And what you will get in these next sequence of races is a little bit in yo-yoing for a position in a very closely tight, closely packed bunch, as upgrades sort of make the difference for one team for a while until someone else will come out of sequence with another upgrade a race or two later to sort of even things back up.”

“Where it will all settle down for the final sort of quarter 1/3 of the season, we’ll see. Hopefully we’ll have our noses in front and be able to have a strong second half of the season.”

Mercedes need to settle on an agreed route forward and it appears egos are still preventing them from converting their design to follow the philosophy of the Red Bull team.

Hamilton cares little of design conceptual wars and merely wants the equipment to propel him towards race wins and the possibility of claiming the elusive eight drivers’ world title.

READ MORE: Horner “sneaky” ploy to ace De Vries

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