Lewis Hamilton labelled Mercedes’ W14 as the “hardest car that I’ve ever driven to get right” after qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix as he rued a set-up change that resulted in him ending up off the pace of teammate George Russell

Both Hamilton and Russell have highlighted the difficulties they have had trying to extract the maximum out of Mercedes’ 2023 challenger this year, which has been hamstrung by balance and performance issues. 

Speaking at the Japanese Grand Prix, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin explained the team are working to make sure the W15 has a more consistent baseline.  

“We’re doing a lot of work to try and solve the problems on this car to make sure we don’t have them next year,” Shovlin said. 

“We have moved it forward. The car we had previously in 2022, that tended to be an awfully way off in qualifying, it was generally racing a bit better. The performance was very, very track-specific. 

“Some areas we have improved but the big issue is we are just not quick enough, so we need to find a good chunk of performance to challenge Red Bull in particular. 

“But the other thing is that the field is now super close. You look at some of the gaps we had 12 months ago. You have a decent qualifying position - you might be fourth or fifth on the grid, but you were eight or nine tenths. Now if you do that, you end up getting bumped off in Q1 or Q2. 

“There’s lots for us to work on and a lot of that will be making sure we can give the drivers the confidence that they are lacking at the moment. 

“That’s the big area [to improve]. We have some interesting projects and hopefully they’ll come off.”