Mercedes say they’re taking feedback from both drivers after Lewis Hamilton jibe

The Silver Arrows have found themselves in another tough season, as their car struggles for pace against title holders Red Bull.

Mercedes trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin has admitted that the team knew the W14 had limited improvements from their 2022 contender before it hit the track in Bahrain for pre-season testing.

Putting the W14 in their wind tunnel, Mercedes saw that the aerodynamics of the car were not sufficiently up to scratch to compete for the 2023 title. 

“You can look at your development rates in the wind tunnel, and before we even got to Bahrain, there were conversations about looking at bigger [concept] departures,” Shovlin said. 

“That’s not looking at it in isolation for this year’s car development, it’s something we’ve done over the course of the last 10 years,” he added.

READ: Toto Wolff hints at Mercedes exit amid Lewis Hamilton refusing to sign contract

“If you’re not finding the gains you need, you make a bigger change. You explore another area and often you want to unlock that.

“That had already happened before Bahrain. But perhaps the urgency to try and bring those bits to the track has gone up following the early races,” Shovlin admitted, echoing Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

Wolff has stated that the team needs to “double the development speed” if they are to make up the 49 point gap that has opened up between them and Red Bull.

“We just need to have double the development speed, a strong development slope,” Wolff said. “I think the lag is probably between six and 12 months because that’s the time that it took for us to figure out what was actually happening with the car.”

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The biggest change that has been floated by Mercedes is abandoning the team’s zero sidepod concept that has made the car’s design stand out from its competitors.

The team will hope that bringing in changes to the Mercedes will not just boost performance but will address the concerns of drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who have been vocal in their criticism of the current concept.

“We’re taking feedback from both drivers throughout every session, and that’s getting fed into the development process,” Shovlin said.