Former F1 driver and Sky Sports Analyst Anthony Davidson has expressed his belief that Mercedes is enjoying a “luxury” in receiving consistent feedback from its drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, regarding the development of the W15 car. This is in stark contrast to Ferrari, where their drivers have been offering differing opinions.
In the era of ground effect rules, Mercedes has yet to reach a point where it can confidently declare its F1 car a title contender. In the same timeframe, Red Bull has managed to develop two title contenders since the conclusion of the 2021 season.
With only six races left in the 2023 season, Mercedes has shifted its focus towards the development of their 2024 car, and drivers Hamilton and Russell have provided unwavering support in their quest to create a machine that can compete with the dominant Red Bull car.
Anthony Davidson sees the alignment of feedback from both drivers as a promising sign that the team is unified in their pursuit of building a better car for the upcoming season. Speaking on the Sky F1 podcast, Davidson commented:
“The good thing is that both drivers have quite similar demand from the way the car feels.
“We’re hearing that the Ferrari drivers, for example, [Carlos] Sainz and [Charles] Leclerc, their styles are quite different apparently and that makes it very difficult for the team to know which direction really to go in in terms of aero shaping as they call it, or mechanical design from the car. It really does compromise things.
“So I think part of the luxury Mercedes have is that both drivers are singing the same song here in terms of where to take the car.”
It’s not just Davidson who shares this viewpoint. Former Aston Martin strategy chief Bernie Collins has also shed light on Mercedes’ advantageous position. Collins revealed that Mercedes is currently in a favorable position as they are developing the W15 car from scratch, abandoning their zero-pod concept after the Monaco Grand Prix.
In contrast, teams like McLaren and Aston Martin are dealing with other concerns before fully diving into the development of their 2024 cars. While these concerns, such as new wind tunnels and factory setups, may not pose significant hindrances to the car’s development, they do require considerable attention and resources. Collins elaborated:
“I think Mercedes are maybe in one of the strongest positions.
“Mercedes have a very strong team, they will know the weaknesses of the car now.
“They know it’s not a full philosophy car, if we want to think of it like that. So they’ll be starting from a ground-up design for next year.
“Compared to Aston and McLaren, they’re not bringing online a new windtunnel, they’re not bringing online a new factory like Aston have done, so they are in a set-up position that I think should be a smoother transition to just say, ‘right, we’re going to take this new concept, that will be going through variations in CFD’.
“And I think Mercedes will be in a strong position, because they’re going back to ground zero and starting with a full car fundamental swing, hopefully. I don’t know if we’ve got that confirmed, but hopefully that’s what they’re doing.”