After struggling for pace through most races this year, Lewis Hamilton has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the W15 in 2024, which, according to reports, is poised to become a formidable title contender in the upcoming Formula 1 season.
The W14, unfortunately, won’t be eligible for any form of upgrades to align with next year’s car due to compatibility issues. In the recent Monza race, the W14 demonstrated its capabilities by securing the third-fastest lap time, trailing just behind Red Bull’s RB19 and Ferrari’s SF-23. However, the Achilles’ heel for the W14 remains its deficiency in top speed, as evidenced by George Russell and Hamilton finishing in the 5th and 6th positions at the Italian Grand Prix. While the W14’s pace allowed Hamilton to make significant progress in the race, it fell short of challenging the dominance of the RB19s.
“Races are pretty straightforward for me, I’ve just got to do better in qualifying, so it’s not such a difficult day.
“And just living with the car that we have at the moment. Today is the third fastest car, and it’s obviously painful for all of us. We wish we were quicker. But we’re just counting down the days until February.”
Hamilton shared his perspective on the stark contrast between the car’s performance in qualifying and the actual Grand Prix. He remarked, “The Mercedes team might be witnessing some great results with the development of their W15 car.” Furthermore, former F1 champion Damon Hill hinted at the possibility of Mercedes creating a ‘title contender’ for the 2024 season.
“I think they’re beavering away back at the factory in Brackley furiously and they probably have a title contender in their back pocket.
“They just can’t use it this year because it won’t fit on this particular car, so it won’t be until next year when we’ll see that.”
Team Principal Toto Wolff echoed a similar sentiment, exuding confidence in the potential of next year’s F1 car. He expressed, “The answer to most problems being faced by Mercedes currently points to the 2024 car.”
“The direction our team is developing is really quite interesting. We see opportunities and we are not shying away [from anything]. We are leaving no stone unturned, and looking at every single concept that we’ve seen on other cars.
“That is whether that’s powerful or not and whether it’s of any use for us, without letting ourselves be distracted from the way we operate, and the way we analyse. We are going to come up good.”
Hamilton’s recent remarks serve as a testament to the intriguing developments transpiring behind closed doors within the Mercedes garage, hinting at a promising future for the team.