After qualifying over a second behind Max Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton claimed that the weakness in Mercedes’ W14 car concept was exposed at Suzuka. 


The seven-time world champion, who pipped teammate George Russell to a low-key seventh, insisted that Mercedes need to ditch the current philosophy they have largely stuck by since the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations last year. 

After their unprecedented run of eight consecutive constructors’ titles, Mercedes have endured a difficult two seasons and managed just a single victory in the 37 races since the start of 2022. 

"Lewis and George together are always giving us feedback on where the weakness is,” Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said. 

“And whilst they might be identifying different causes of it, we know that, fundamentally, the car doesn't have enough stability.

"We know that they don't have the confidence to just throw it into a high-speed corner, and not have some concern that the rear is going to slide more than they want and be a bit of a challenge.

"Whilst you might see different comments in the press, the two of them are very aligned on where the weaknesses are, and where we need to improve it. We can see the GPS from other cars and that all ties in. So, you can build a picture of where you need to develop.

"And we're certainly not clinging on to any concepts that we have had before. We're very open-minded. We've had a pretty chastening couple of years, and we are a team that's working very hard to try and get back to the front.”

And Shovlin confirmed Mercedes are planning considerable changes for their 2024 challenger. 

"We are changing the car quite considerably for next year, but whether or not we can solve all the issues that we've got on the handling, that will depend on a number of projects delivering," he explained. 

"Those projects are underway and they're not complete. We've got some good directions to try and improve that.

"The car will be different. We've made a lot of changes to it, but it's very early in the development of a new car to be able to say, we've got it sorted."