Hamilton has “full faith in everyone that’s working” on Mercedes’ 2024 F1 challenger

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The 2023 season has been one to forget for Mercedes. Despite securing second position in the Constructors’ Championship, the team struggled to consistently find pace and performance from the W14, failing to secure any wins.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

In contrast, Lewis Hamilton’s season showcased the seven-time world champion’s exceptional ability as a series of strong race performances saw him finish P3 in the Drivers’ Championship.

Before leaving for his winter break, Hamilton attended a final debriefing on 2023 on Thursday at the HPP engine division in Brixworth and the racing team in Brackley.

Reflecting on the challenging year during the FIA Gala, Hamilton highlighted the team’s resilience, saying: “I’ve been very busy.

“It’s been a long, long year, but just tying up all the loose ends, working with the team.

“I was at the team yesterday just thanking everyone for the amazing work they’ve done throughout the year. It’s a special time of the year, you’re winding down, and you’re seeing where we’re going next.”

When asked about the atmosphere at the factory as the women and men design and get the W15 ready, Hamilton noted: “The mood is very positive. I think all the members in the team are incredibly grateful to have got second in the Constructors’, given the challenges that we faced this season. And so it’s always quite emotional.”

Hamilton, with six Drivers’ Championships secured since joining Mercedes in 2013, acknowledged the growth and progress witnessed at Brixworth and Brackley. He emphasised the increasing diversity within the team, expressing satisfaction with the positive direction, saying: “And I’ve been with the team for such a long time, but every time you go back to Brixworth and Brackley, and you’re reminded of just how big a team is pushing you forward from behind.

“And you see every individual, some people that are new to the team that have joined whilst I’ve been here, and some that have been way before, and also some that have worked on my engine since my first Grand Prix in F1. It’s amazing to see just the progress and the growth.

“And also, our team is becoming more and more diverse, which has been really pleasing for me to see that we are moving in the right direction.”

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Looking ahead to 2024 and what it might hold with the W15, Hamilton tempered expectations: “I think it’s always difficult.

“I’m not an engineer or a designer. So it’s not easy. It’s always the exciting time of the year because I have seen the car in the wind tunnel; I always go by the wind tunnel when I go to the factory to see it evolving in whichever direction it ends up going.

“Literally, when I was leaving yesterday again I popped in just to see where we were, and when I come back, it will be again a different animal.”

“I have full faith in everyone that’s working on it. And I’m hopeful that we will be in a much more competitive position next year.”

Reflecting on the challenges of the 2023 season, Hamilton acknowledged after his first outing with the W14 that it wouldn’t be a championship-winning car. He went on to praise the team’s resilience as they fend off Scuderia Ferrari for P2 in the Constructors’ Championship, saying: “There are ups and downs within all seasons, and there were ups and downs.

“And from the moment we started driving the car at Silverstone, realising that we’re probably not going to be fighting for a championship, and then just refocusing and resetting your goals, and then working towards catching up.

“I think it’s just really pleasing to see that we never gave up, and no one in the team gave up. Everyone stayed positive, and just how everyone showed up was super encouraging for me.

“I think we’re all always learning more about just appreciating the moment, appreciating each and every single individual in the team and those results we’re getting, and when we finally get a podium, we appreciate it perhaps more than ever before.

“And I think obviously [pole in] Budapest was the highlight, a track that I love. And to somehow dethrone the Red Bull for a single moment gave us a lot of hope, knowing that if we just keep pushing, we may get there.”