Will Mercedes’ delayed upgrades sway Hamilton’s F1 future?

Crash.net looks at some of the biggest talking points heading into this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix as F1 returns to action following Imola’s cancellation.
Will Mercedes’ delayed upgrades sway Hamilton’s F1 future?

Does Hamilton’s future rest on upgrades? 

Lewis Hamilton’s future has been thrust back into the limelight ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, following a report that Ferrari are preparing a stunning £40m offer to try and lure the seven-time world champion away from Mercedes.

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The 38-year-old Briton’s future remains unclear with his contract expiring at the end of the current season, despite both Hamilton and Mercedes repeatedly insisting they consider an extension to be a formality. 

The rumour mill surrounding Hamilton’s future only heightened in the build-up to the Monaco Grand Prix amid a report by the Daily Mail which claims Ferrari are hoping to persuade Hamilton to join them in his ongoing pursuit of a record eighth world title. 

There will be huge interest surrounding Mercedes this weekend, given the team are finally set to debut their long-awaited W14 upgrades - originally planned for introduction at the cancelled Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - in Monaco. 

Will Mercedes’ delayed upgrades sway Hamilton’s F1 future?

Could Hamilton’s future hinge on the success, or indeed failure, of the updates Mercedes are hoping will turnaround their season and ultimately bring them back into championship contention? 

After all, for all of the positive noise coming from the Mercedes camp, something is clearly stopping Hamilton from signing on the dotted line on what should theoretically be a straightforward deal. 

Hamilton’s decision to stay would surely be made easier if the upgrades bring the desired results to the underperforming W14. However, Mercedes may find themselves with a big headache if no improvement to their fortunes is found. 

Alonso’s best chance to beat Red Bull?

Red Bull look unstoppable so far this season, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez winning all five races between them and taking one two-two finishes in four of them. 

Might that change in Monaco? The advantage of the Red Bull RB19 over the rest of the field has been slightly smaller on Saturdays. With qualifying in Monte Carlo considered to be the most important of the entire season due to the tight nature of Monaco’s unique barrier-lined streets, could the likes of Aston Martin or Ferrari cause an upset?

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team celebrates his third position on the podium. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team celebrates his third position…

GPS data points towards this year’s Aston Martin being a match for the Red Bull through the corners and in theory, the low-speed Monaco circuit should suit the AMR23. 

Fernando Alonso has scored four podiums from five races so far but is yet to finish higher than third, with his wait for a 33rd career victory recently surpassing the 10-year mark. 

Could Monaco be the place where he finally ends his decade-long wait for a win? If Alonso maximises everything from his Aston Martin in qualifying, you wouldn’t put it past him, even if he is slower than the Red Bulls in the race. 

Can Leclerc break his Monaco curse? 

There is another contender waiting in the wings to potentially spoil Red Bull’s 100 percent winning start to 2023. 

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has claimed the only non-Red Bull pole position of the season and is known as something of a one-lap specialist around the streets of his home, having taken the last two poles in 2022 and 2021. 

Remarkably, Leclerc has suffered a run of misfortune that has seen him yet to win around Monaco in any category.

Will Mercedes’ delayed upgrades sway Hamilton’s F1 future?

Leclerc suffered a retirement in his only F2 appearance at the circuit, before failing to finish his first three F1 races at the Principality. He failed to even start in 2021 following a crash on his way to claiming pole, before a calamitous strategy call from Ferrari dropped him from first to fourth last year. 

2023 has so far proven to be a miserable campaign for Ferrari and Leclerc, but will it be the year the Monegasque manages to put an end to his home hoodoo? 

Pressure mounting on de Vries 

Nyck de Vries is a man under increasing pressure following an underwhelming start to his first full F1 season. 

The 28-year-old Dutchman and fellow rookie Logan Sargeant are the only drivers yet to score points so far this season. 

De Vries has struggled to get to grips with the AT04 and has been well beaten by AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda across the opening five rounds. 

Several early mistakes and costly crashes have led to reports that de Vries’ future is under threat with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko issuing him with a “yellow card”

Amid speculation that he could be replaced mid-season, de Vries is in need of a turnaround, starting in Monaco this weekend.

Nyck de Vries (NLD) AlphaTauri. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit,
Nyck de Vries (NLD) AlphaTauri. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4,…

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