The team has had a challenging start to the 2023 season, but there is a glimmer of hope as they introduced the first set of upgrades to their W14 model in Monaco. These upgrades have shown promising progress, with the car performing well in Spain and surprising everyone with a strong showing at the Canadian GP, despite not being a track that suited their strengths.
Lewis Hamilton, the team’s star driver, expressed his relief at the change in philosophy, commenting that they had been waiting a long time for this shift. He acknowledged that while they brought upgrades last year, adding performance to this generation of car was not easy. The upgrades made in the past resulted in the car bouncing more on track, instead of delivering the desired performance. However, this year’s changes to the car have finally started to improve its performance without increasing the bouncing effect.
The recent upgrades have already had a positive impact on Hamilton‘s performance, with him achieving his first consecutive podium results of the season. However, the seven-time champion believes there is still more potential to unlock in the W14. He acknowledges that they have taken a step in the right direction but emphasized that they haven’t fully reached their ultimate goal yet. Hamilton is optimistic about the progress they will make in the coming months and is excited about the future potential of the car. He also mentioned that he is starting to feel more confident in the car, feeling it is finally starting to resemble a true race car.
When asked to elaborate on his experience with the revised package, Hamilton highlighted the importance of confidence in pushing closer to the car’s limit. He referred to a shocking crash he had during Q3 in Austria last year, where he was caught off guard by the car’s behavior. The lack of stability in the previous year’s car forced him to hold back and not approach the car’s true limit. However, the changes they have made this year have given him more confidence to explore the car’s capabilities. Nevertheless, he still feels he hasn’t reached the limit and believes there is room for further improvements to be made.
Despite the recent improvements and the positive trajectory, Hamilton believes there are “fundamental changes” that need to be implemented for the next year’s car, the W15, in order to compete at the front in 2024. He has been advocating for these changes for over a year and expects the team to implement them accordingly. While he acknowledges the progress made so far, he points out that there are still areas, particularly the rear end and its rotation through corners, that need further adjustments. Hamilton is confident that the team is focused on these changes and anticipates more progress in the coming months.
Looking ahead to the Austrian GP weekend, Hamilton anticipates a similar level of competitiveness to the previous week in Barcelona. He expects Red Bull to be strong, as they usually perform well at this track. Hamilton hopes to be able to compete with Ferrari and Aston Martin and believes they can be relatively competitive at this circuit.
Overall, the recent upgrades have brought about positive changes for the team, with signs of progress and improved performance. However, Hamilton and the team recognize that there is still work to be done to fully unlock the car’s potential. With a focused approach and continued development, they aim to challenge at the front of the grid in the upcoming seasons.