‘What happens to Mercedes’ no-blame culture if they’ve got it wrong?’

Sky Sports F1 presenter Simon Lazenby has questioned what will happen to Mercedes’ no-blame culture if their upgrades fail to perform as hoped. 
‘What happens to Mercedes’ no-blame culture if they’ve got it wrong?’

A lot rests on this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix for Mercedes, with the German manufacturer finally set to deploy a much-needed car upgrade for their underperforming W14.

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Mercedes’ struggles to get to grips with F1’s new regulations has left the once-dominant outfit lagging behind Red Bull, and prevented Lewis Hamilton from being able to fight for a record eighth world title. 

The Silver Arrows’ competitive troubles have led to speculation that Hamilton, who will become a free agent at the end of the year unless he signs a contract extension, could leave Mercedes amid rumours Ferrari have presented Hamilton with a lucrative offer. 

And Lazenby has suggested the seven-time world champion’s final decision could ultimately hinge on the success of Mercedes’ highly-anticipated upgrades. 

"I think a lot of Lewis' decision about his future depends on this upgrade set," Lazenby said on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast.  

"When you look back to what happened last year, the hopes for the W13 coming out of the simulator was that it was going to blow the rest of them away, it was going to blow Red Bull away and it was going to blow Ferrari away.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5,…

"The correlation between what happened there and reality, well we all know the story - Red Bull went with the undercut sidepod philosophy which everyone has moved towards whereas Mercedes had this exposed floor and then the porpoising happened, they had to stiffen the floor and couldn't raise the rear ride height enough and it turned into bouncing.

"All of this year's problems have come from the fact that I think they were just tantalised by those figures which said 'we are going to completely and utterly destroy the field, let's stick with it'. 

“We get into this year and all of the limitations that were created by having to try to solve those problems, including keeping Lewis further up front in terms of his seating position so he doesn't feel the rear of his car, they just had to have a reset and a complete rethink of their philosophy.

"If they've got it wrong this time, what happens with the no-blame culture then?”

Sky pundit and former W Series racer Naomi Schiff said: "If these upgrades don't live up to what [Mercedes] are hoping that they will and potentially let's talk about next season and they start poorly again then he will be considering in what manner he wants to end his career in Formula 1. 

“Does he want to be struggling for fourth or fifth place or does he want to be back at the front, and then I guess Red Bull."

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