Lewis Hamilton is confident that Mercedes’ 2024 car will be their ‘North Star’, as they’re scrapping everything from the first two seasons of the new aerodynamic regulations.
2022 and 2023 have been hugely disappointing for Mercedes but particularly for Hamilton, who still hasn’t claimed a race victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The Silver Arrows have just constantly failed to master the new regulations, whereas Red Bull have flourished.
To finally right their wrongs, Mercedes are opting to start from complete scratch next season with an entirely new concept.
A new development path is set to be followed by the Brackley-based team, which will give them the “North Star” they’ve been missing since the new regs were introduced.
“I do believe we have a North Star now,” Hamilton told the BBC. “Which I don’t think we’ve had for two years, but still getting there is not a straight line.
“And there were just certain things, decisions that have been made, that just left you blocked at the end of a road, and you can’t do anything because of the cost cap and all these different things.”
Mercedes’ big issue over the last couple of seasons is that some upgrades have actually made their car worse, resulting in substantial progress taking a “long time”.
This was the case with porpoising in 2022, which Mercedes spent half a season trying to solve, whilst Red Bull cracked their bouncing issues the week after the Bahrain Grand Prix that year.
Hamilton pointed out that Red Bull have just constantly been able to improve their car, whilst Mercedes have often been forced to “knock down the wall” and start again.
They’re knocking absolutely everything for 2024 but in the hope that, like Red Bull, they can improve their car at a faster rate.
“If you look at the Red Bull, and they have done an amazing job, from Bahrain last year, they had a bouncing issue and they fixed it that week,” Hamilton added. “Then you can imagine, if you’re trying to build a wall, they add one brick after the other, just development, development, development.
“Maybe they added something and it didn’t add performance. But they were still building. Whereas for us, we had to knock down the wall, if you like, in terms of aero. We had a lot of aero on that first car last year. We had to basically knock a ton of downforce off it and then slowly try to add.
“But every time we tried to add, it was worse. So we just didn’t improve for a long, long, long time.”