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Lewis Hamilton

What Hamilton wants from his new Mercedes F1 car

Mercedes launches its new F1 car on Wednesday, and Lewis Hamilton will be hoping these main areas have been addressed in his final season with the team.

Hamilton Mexico
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton endured consecutive winless seasons in 2022 and 2023 as Mercedes was unable to maintain its title-contending form from previous campaigns.

Mercedes' rapid pace from 2014 to 2021 delivered it a series of championships but amid a more difficult period on-track for the team following the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations at the start of 2022, it is now entering its final season in partnership with Hamilton.

The seven-time champion will enter a new chapter with Ferrari in 2025, closing the door on the most successful driver/team partnership in F1 history.

Hamilton will undoubtedly be hoping to end his time at Mercedes on a high, so what needs to be addressed in order for the 39-year-old to succeed?

Last year at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton immediately voiced his frustrations, and a rare criticism toward the team.

"Last year (referring to 2022), there were things I told them," he said at the time. "I said the issues that are with the car, I’ve driven so many cars in my life, I know what a car needs, I know what a car doesn't need.

"I think it's really about accountability. It's about owning up and saying, 'Yeah, you know what? We didn't listen to you’.”

Balance and rear downforce

Hamilton added that the team had to address “the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points and just huddle up as a team”.

At the following round in Saudi Arabia, Hamilton remarked that Mercedes was “a long way down on downforce”.

He added: “We’ve got to pick up the rear end downforce particularly. The more rear we gain, the more stable the rear becomes, and the more confident I’ll be able to attack.”

The car went through various developments throughout the campaign, with the first sizeable upgrade delivered at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mercedes opted to change its development direction, and while Hamilton initially had praise for the efforts, the team's pace did not shift dramatically.

Unfortunately for Hamilton, his concerns regarding rear downforce were not answered during the year as at the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton again vented his frustrations.

“We’re a long way away on rear downforce, so that's why we're so slow in the first sector," he remarked. "But the laps felt really good, it's just within one second away [from pole position], it's crazy.

"To close that gap for next year, and at this point still be a second down, this is definitely worrying for us as a team.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Cockpit position

Hamilton brought up a peculiar issue at the third round of the season in Australia when he expressed displeasure with his cockpit position.

As he explained, it directly impacted his feeling behind the wheel and led to an uncomfortable experience.

“If you look at the past, I've always enjoyed an oversteering car,” he said. “I don't know if people know, but we sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers.

“Our cockpit is too close to the front. When you're driving, you feel like you're sitting on the front wheels, which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you're driving a car.”

More predictability

Hamilton’s most recent race event was not an enjoyable one as at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he qualified 11th before crossing the finishing line in ninth.

A silver lining for the Briton was the fact that he did not have to climb behind the wheel of the W14 again when the chequered flag fell, as after qualifying, Hamilton again expressed difficulties he was having with the car.

“It’s just a very unpredictable car, it’s been the same all year,” he said. “It’s more inconsistent than ever before.

“It’s just up and down, per corner from the moment you hit the brakes, the moment you turn, the moment you hit the apex, it's massively out of balance. Very hard to predict what's going to happen.”

Such an issue is one of the most frustrating a driver can endure as it drains confidence and takes away the trust to push the car to its limits in order to extract speed.

Hamilton has not had an enjoyable run over the last two years, but if Mercedes has successfully addressed his concerns, the 103-time Grand Prix winner may be able to take his exit with a satisfying end.

All will be revealed when the W15 is unveiled on Wednesday ahead of the pre-season test in Bahrain on February 21-23 before a record-breaking 24-race campaign.

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