Lewis Hamilton has made it clear that he was not involved in Mercedes’ decision to abandon their narrow sidepod design for the current season.
The team’s new-look W14 now bears resemblance to elements of Red Bull’s RB19, as Mercedes aims to close the performance gap and regain their dominance in Formula 1.
Last year, Mercedes introduced the ground-effect design, featuring drastically different-looking cars with narrow sidepods that set them apart from their competitors.
However, in 2023, the team had to acknowledge the limitations of their design and make changes.
At the beginning of this season, eyebrows were raised when Mercedes stuck with a similar design, but team boss Toto Wolff swiftly committed to a significant overhaul after it became evident that Hamilton and his teammate George Russell were struggling to keep up with the competition.
Hamilton had expressed his frustrations about the W14 prior to the changes, but he clarifies that the decision to adopt a design more reminiscent of Red Bull’s was not made by him.
In a recent statement to reporters, the seven-time world champion explained: “These are ideas from the past year, with the team and George Russell constantly working on questioning why things are the way they are and exploring new approaches.
“The shift towards wider sidepods, somewhat similar to Red Bull’s, was not my decision. When we first put the car on the track this year, it was almost a copy of last year’s car, just without the bounce. Like a prettier sister, but with similar characteristics.”
Hamilton eagerly anticipates positive results from the new-look W14 as he seeks his first Grand Prix win since 2021.
With Max Verstappen dominating the Drivers’ Championship, ending his winless streak will be a formidable challenge.
Red Bull has claimed victory in all seven races so far, with Verstappen securing five wins and Sergio Perez adding two.
However, Hamilton has a successful track record in Montreal, where the drivers will soon arrive for this weekend’s Grand Prix.