Lewis Hamilton's (44) Mercedes W14

Arnab Bose

James Allison Reveals Where Mercedes Went Wrong With This Year’s Design Concept

Mercedes has been having a bad time on the grid since last year. It is primarily because the car caused a lot of obstacles for the team. Since the cost cap era, Mercedes has been really struggling with the concept of the car. At first, the problem was the car’s zero-side pod concept. The W13 last year suffered a lot due to porpoising issues. It caused too much bouncing. The drivers could not handle it. But the Mercedes drivers managed to win in the Brazilian Grand Prix with a one-two finish last year. However, in 2023, the team is planning to rectify all the mistakes and get ready to build a car to fight for the next year’s championship from Day 1.

But Mercedes’ technical director knows that it won’t be an easy task. Moreover, James Allison has been part of Formula One since the early 1990s. Allison had been with top teams like Benetton, Renault, Ferrari, and currently with Mercedes. Moreover, James Allison is an accomplished car designer. The cars that he has designed went on to win 11 constructor titles and ten driver’s world championships. After all, Mercedes could not win the driver’s title back in 2021 as Hamilton lost to Verstappen. Recently in an interview for Mercedes’ YouTube channel, James Allison discussed the choices that worked or did not work for the team.


James Allison Points Out Choices That May Have Worked For His Team

James Allison Mercedes

Moreover, James Allison mentioned, “After careful evaluation and consideration, we decided to start Russell on soft tires and Hamilton on medium tires.” More or less, all the tires worked pretty much the same the weekend. The soft tires started well, but the performance worsened at the end. On the other hand, the hard tires was suitable for warm-ups but was not favorable at the start. Moreover, the team aimed to increase the chances of an overall strong result. After examining the way the car performed throughout the long run on Friday, and then George Russell was starting ahead of Lewis Hamilton as well, so the team decided to put soft tires on Russell’s car.

On the other hand, the medium tire had better prospects. It is strong and lasts longer. Moreover, it helps Mercedes with their one-stop strategy. Additionally, Hamilton got a chance to run in the free air while approaching the strategy window’s upper end. Hence, James Allison feels the tires worked well for Lewis Hamilton but not so much for George Russell. But Allison points out that splitting the strategy gave Mercedes the best chance to have an overall best team performance. Moreover, it makes sense that there are separate tires for each individual.

Mercedes Struggled Due To Their Flawed Zero Sidepod Concept

Mercedes W14 Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes W14 Lewis Hamilton Source: Sky Sports F1

In hindsight, that victory in Sao Paolo, Brazil, ruined the 2023 season of Mercedes. Mercedes originally had plans to add side pods and make more necessary changes. But the Brazilian Grand Prix win regained their faith in zero side pod concept. Eventually, the Brackley team struggled to get results since the beginning of the current season. Finally, they realized it was high time to add side pods.

Hence, in the Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes introduced new side pods along with front and floor suspension. Later, they had their best performance so far this season in Barcelona with a two-three finish. However, Mercedes has not yet managed to win a single Grand Prix in 2023. But the technical director of Mercedes, James Allison, has faith in the team.