Mercedes chief reacts to copying allegation

Lewis Hamilton in particular has benefitted from the upgrades that Mercedes have brought to the W14.

Mercedes’ recent major upgrade to their 2022 and 2023 ‘no sidepods’ car concept has brought the team closer to challenging Red Bull’s dominance. 

However, James Allison, who recently returned to the top technical role at the Brackley-based team, emphasised that their progress goes beyond the emergence of Red Bull-like sidepods.

In an interview with Auto Motor und Sport, Allison dismisses the notion that the team’s previous sidepods were the sole reason for their struggles, just as Red Bull’s success cannot be solely attributed to the geometry of their sidepods. 

“Anything we changed on the car could have been done with the old sidepods,” he clarified. 

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

“Our old sidepods were no more the reason for our problems than the geometry of the sidepods explaining Red Bull’s success.”

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton recently expressed his desire for cockpit positioning adjustments in 2024, as he feels he is seated too closely to the front wheels. 

Allison acknowledges Hamilton’s feedback but believes the seating position is not directly related to the handling issues experienced. 

“I’m not sure one is related to the other… It’s our job to fix [the handling issues] because that’s lap time,” he stated. 

Article continues below

“But if we change the seating position, it’s for many other reasons and not because we think that alone will solve all of Lewis’ problems.”

Addressing the perception that Red Bull’s success hinges on their highly complex floor, which produces noticeable sparks on the straights, Allison explains that while this phenomenon was evident earlier in the season, it is no longer a significant factor. 

“We mostly saw that early in the season where they bottomed on the straights much earlier than other cars at certain tracks. But at the moment, we are no longer seeing that,” he remarked.

READ: Lewis Hamilton fires back at vegan critics

Instead, Allison emphasised the importance of incremental changes for Mercedes to bridge the gap to Red Bull. 

He believes that continuous improvement is the key to their success, both in the current season and in laying the foundation for the next. 

“There’s no reason it shouldn’t happen this season as long as we’re able to keep improving our car… The challenge is to do that and at the same time build up enough knowledge so that we can do it from the start of next season too,” he affirmed.