THE Formula 1 will play this weekend Saudi Arabian Grand Prixwhich could be the key to the aspirations of Mercedes in this 2023. This statement may be unusual, considering that the appointment in Jeddah will be only the second of the new championship; but the German team remained on fire after the poor performance of its brand new W14 in the first race, in Bahrain. And, while the team has come out to smooth things over by making sure they are united and working “urgently and calmly” to develop a recovery plan; in the last week, some statements by Lewis Hamilton AND Toto Wolff They have given indications that the weather is not the best.
After eight seasons of dominance, with seven drivers’ titles, six by Hamilton and one by Nico Rosbergand eight by builders- and after the technical renewal introduced by FIA by 2022; Mercedes suffered throughout last year with a car that had too many problems, especially with the proposing, that rebound caused by ground effect; and I saw how Red Bull AND Max Verstappen the kingship was taken from him. With a new design, the team expected to start this season with other results, but in Sakhir it added another disappointment.
Hamilton was fifth, behind the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, from Aston Martin From Fernando Alonso -car with which the W14 shares the engine, gearbox and rear suspension- and the Ferrari From Charles Sainz. George Russellmeanwhile, it was also surpassed by the other Aston Martin, with Lance Stroll behind the wheel, and finished seventh.
Hamilton’s reaction was not long in coming. “Last year I told them things that were wrong, I talked about the problems he had with the car and they didn’t listen to me,” the seven-time champion said in an interview with BBC after the test in Bahrain.
“I’ve driven a lot of single-seaters in my life, so I know what a car needs and what it doesn’t need. And I think it’s a matter of responsibility. Hire it and say: ‘Yeah, you know what? We don’t hear you.’ We are not where we were before and we have to keep working. I knew from the moment I first entered W14 that it was going to be a huge challenge. We have to look at the balance of the car when cornering, we have to see and study all our weaknesses, we have to come together and that’s what we’re doing at the moment.”
Hamilton’s words seemed to indicate that there was a clash of opinions within the team. Wolff, executive director of Mercedes, was tasked with making it clear that this was not the case.
“Lewis is an integral part of the team, he is trying to lift it and we are all united. I don’t think it will change just because we have had a bad start to the season. We have to push everyone in the same direction, the riders, the engineers, everyone,” he said the Austrian.
However, hours earlier, he himself had been very pessimistic about Mercedes’ chances of fighting for the top positions in this championship.
“We could throw our car away. There is a team that is far ahead of the others and is playing with its rivals, they don’t even have the degradation”, Wolff had analyzed shortly after the Bahrain race. “I think Red Bull will win every race this season. We’ll try to fight for the World Cup, but that’s not going to be the case this year.”
“We can change the concept, but putting sidepods on the car won’t solve the problems, it all depends on the airflow. Our car is agile, but not fast. Last year it was improving and, at the end of the season, we won a career. That’s why we continue with this concept. Now, we start a new tournament and we see that, all of a sudden, nothing works,” he assured, pessimistic.
“Bahrain hurt us”
Over the weekend, the Austrian squad published a letter to its fans, in which it ensured that it shared the pain of its followers over the bad moment and stated that all members of the squad were aware of how much work they will have to work to reverse it.
“To all our fans,” the lyrics began. “Bahrain hurt. It hurt each of us, who face each season determined to fight for the world championship. It hurts the whole team, after investing a lot of work on a car that didn’t meet our expectations. And we know it hurt you too. Your passion and support are so important to keep us going.”
“The situation we are facing now is not what any of us wanted, but it is what we have. This is the reality,” he continued, before listing what will be done about it.
“First of all, we won’t panic or react rashly,” he said, noting that instead of looking for a “scapegoat,” they’ll try to see “failure as an opportunity” to improve. “We are working urgently and calmly to develop our recovery plan, focusing on what needs to happen in the short, medium and long term to win. We already have plans underway for the next races and more to come. But it won’t be the moment’s work; there are no silver bullets in F1.”
“Secondly, we will keep our heads up and take this journey one step at a time, together. We are Mercedes. We know the standards we aspire to and no one flinches when we look at the mountain we have to climb. He won’t win” “It will be easy, but what courage Is it easy?” he continued.
And finally, he called on fans to nudge them forward, with criticism or words of support, as long as they’re done right.
“We are already working hard to turn the tide for this 2023 season. The recovery started immediately after the race and everyone has a role to play. Are you ready to join us in the fight? If so, let’s do it.” the communiqué concluded.
With the Bahrain results, Mercedes were third in the constructors’ championship with 16 points, behind Red Bull (43) and Aston Martin (16). Far from the glory years to which it was accustomed, the German team lives a complicated present. But the good news for Hamilton and company is that the 2023 championship has just begun and the team has time to turn around this difficult moment.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.