Hamilton – Why Red Bull sidepod switch for Mercedes might not work
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 23rd March, 2023 - 9:16pm
Lewis Hamilton has dismissed the notion that switching to Red Bull’s sidepod concept would improve this season’s Mercedes.
Mercedes is currently in the process of reviewing and revising the aerodynamics on its W14 after acknowledging it has made a mistake in persisting with the ‘zero sidepod’ design.
Whilst it was anticipated Mercedes would haul itself closer to Red Bull over the winter following its victory in the penultimate race in São Paulo last year, it has now been suggested that victory steered Mercedes down the wrong development path.
Instead, the team has found itself further adrift of the reigning constructors’ champions that have started a season with back-to-back one-twos for the first time in its 19-year history.
Seven-time F1 champion Hamilton, however, has made clear that Mercedes taking on Red Bull’s bulbous sidepod design is not a simple task, and could ultimately prove more damaging to the W14.
“We have what we have, and we’re going to continue to try to work on it and extract more from it,” said Hamilton, speaking to Sky Sports.
“We’ll see how quickly that can happen, or whether that’s possible with the concept we have.
“And then in the short term we will start to find out whether or not we’ve got to make loads of big, drastic changes – I mean there are drastic changes which we will do.
“People keep talking about getting the new sidepods on the car but it’s not as simple as that.
“You put the Red Bull sidepods on our car and it won’t change a thing. It literally won’t change a thing. It might even go slower.
“It’s about aero characteristics, it’s how the car is balanced through the corners.
“There are so many different elements that people would not know because they’re not aerodynamicists and you can’t see it – there’s a lot more to it.”
Hamilton – “I was right”
Hamilton caused a stir following the season-opening race in Bahrain when he criticised Mercedes for not listening to him with regard to the direction he felt the team should have taken.
Although the 38-year-old rowed back to a degree on those remarks in Saudi Arabia, he feels following the performance around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit where the car was again considerably off the pace, that his original comments have been vindicated.
“I’m one of those people that always likes to be right,” added Hamilton. “I’m not always right, but in this scenario I was right. So it was good. It was like ‘I told you’.”
Insisting there is “a team collaboration” inside Mercedes, Hamilton noted: “At the end of the day I’m the driver, not the designer.
“But I’m the gateway to the car’s performance, so we’re just working on continuously trusting each other in what we try to give back.
“They do listen to me, I mean look at the success we’ve had over time, so we listen to each other. We’ve had our disagreements and that’s inevitable in relationships.
“What’s important is just owning up to it – ‘Okay, I was wrong’ or ‘You were wrong’ or whatever it is, and then just huddle up.
“We’re a team, so how can we fix it? What are we going to do? How much energy are you going to put into it?”