Formula One

Hamilton unease with W14 rear-end ‘can’t be cured quickly’


Toto Wolff says Mercedes is aware of a fundamental issue on its W14 car that is impairing Lewis Hamilton, but it’s unfortunately one that “can’t be cured quickly”.

A pair of fifth place finishes in Bahrain and in Jeddah evidently falls short of Hamilton and Mercedes’ ambitions. But the results aptly reflect the currently limited potential of the Brackley squad’s 2023 car.

However, Hamilton’s performance is also an indication of his unease with the W14’s handling and balance, with teammate George Russell coping better with the car’s chronic rear-end instability.

Hamilton believes that adding more downforce at the rear would go a long way towards stabilizing the latter, and Mercedes’ upcoming updates will hopefully address this plight.


But the seven-time world champion has also hinted at a “specific” underlying issue deeply embedded in Mercedes’ car that is undermining his confidence.

“We’re a long way down on downforce,” explained Hamilton last weekend. “So 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.

“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.”

Hamilton would not elaborate on the specific issue that is impacting his confidence and comfort, but Wolff revealed that it related to a problem that cannot be immediately solved.

“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,” commented Wolff.

“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.”

Hamilton did suggest that the issue was more prevalent in qualifying trim, while running on the limit, than on race day.

It’s on a massive knife edge when you’re above about 95%,” he said. “But when you’re in a race stint, it’s much more controllable and predictable.

“I still don’t have the confidence in the race, but I’m doing the best I can with it.”

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Hamilton unease with W14 rear-end ‘can’t be cured quickly’

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