Hamilton wants cockpit position change on his W14

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Photo: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Throughout 2022 the main point of conversation around the Mercedes car was indeed the porpoising and how they believed if they could solve this issue they could run the car lower to the ground and ultimately be competitive.

While Lewis Hamilton has been critical of his team’s car development direction in Saudi Arabia, he pinpointed more detail on Thursday in Australia of where the team should focus on. He spoke during his Thursday media duties in Albert Park of his desire to move the cockpit of the W14 rearwards as he feels it’s current position is “one of the worst feelings to feel”.

“You feel like you’re sitting on the front wheels, which is one of the worst feelings to feel, when you’re driving a car. If you were driving your car at home and you pulled the wheels right under your legs you would not be happy when you were approaching the roundabout.”

Bringing the cockpit further back from the front wheels would help the seven-time champion with his feeling with the car and reduce his understeer.

“In the past I’ve always enjoyed an oversteering car,” he said.

“So what that does is it just really changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement, and it makes it harder to predict compared to when you’re further back and sitting more centre, I would say. It’s something I have just really struggled with.”

Hamilton’s comments today in Albert Park cast your mind back to 2010 when Michael Schumacher has similar complaints about his W01. The team introduced a vastly upgraded car for Barcelona that year, including ‘increasing the wheelbase’ of the car to satisfy the German’s demands.

This helped Mercedes with its weight distribution back then and hoped to solve the understeer issues that left Schumacher struggling on his F1 return.

At the time, teammate Nico Rosberg had less issues with the understeering nature of the W01 compared teammate Schumacher. Pushing forward to 2023 and Lewis Hamilton’s team mate George Russell is more positive about his setup and car in general it seems.

Some argued at the time in 2010 that Schumacher had too much influence on the development path of that car. The question is will Lewis be listened by his team in the detail a 7-time World Champion deserves?

Nevertheless Hamilton gave praise to his team for their efforts in trying to solve their issues and stressed Mercedes culture of blame the problem, not the person.

“We’re still a world championship-winning team, we’ve got amazing people who have been with us on that journey. We always need to hold ourselves accountable, each and every single one of us. We all need to look at how we go about things and how we do it better.”l

“There’s not a single person in the team that thinks they have done everything right and that they couldn’t do things better, and everyone’s just focused on correcting that and learning moving forwards collectively, and improving our communication and improving how we process things.

“That’s a huge thing for me, because if you’ve got a group of people who are just super stuck in their ways and don’t change, then you will just stay in that area of being noncompetitive. But these men and women are very open-minded, that’s inspiring for me to see the courage that they have, and I know that we will get there.”