As we move deeper into the 2023 Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton speaks his mind, acknowledging that the Mercedes W14 upgrade isn’t the “dreamed” improvement they had hoped for. Nevertheless, his eyes are set on the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.
After a tough start to the season in Bahrain, Mercedes decided it was time to alter the W14’s design, leaving behind the ‘zero-pod’ concept. The team then pivoted their strategy, willing to overhaul their car to try and snag second place in the championship.
The revised W14 debuted in Monaco, displaying a noticeable redesign to the sidepod, new floor fences, and a revamped front suspension. Mirroring aspects of the successful Red Bull RB19, Mercedes is hoping for a significant improvement in their machine.
However, the changes haven’t met Hamilton’s expectations. He openly shared his thoughts, saying, “Well, it’s not the step forward that we were hoping for, the true step forward we’re hoping for is, there’s been around a one-second delta [to Red Bull] in race trim, for example. We haven’t covered that with this step, but it is a step in the right direction.”
He further shared his experience last weekend, explaining that he felt “a little bit more confident in the car, more ability to be able to commit to the corner,” and hopes the upcoming track will provide the same, if not a better experience. Hamilton stressed the vast amount of work that’s gone into the upgrades and the team’s collective hope for a better path forward.
Monaco didn’t serve as an ideal testing ground for these updates, which were initially slated for unveiling in Imola, a plan disrupted by the race weekend’s cancellation. In contrast, the Spanish Grand Prix track is a former testing ground for the sport, giving Mercedes ample opportunity to evaluate their car’s performance.
In the same breath, Hamilton noted the impending upgrades of Aston Martin and Ferrari, their closest competitors. He suggested the revamped W14 would have been “quite close” in terms of pace with these two challengers. Despite this, he maintains an optimistic stance, remaining hopeful that Mercedes can be competitive this weekend.