‘F1 needs Hamilton battling at the front’

Total-Motorsport.com take a closer look at what to expect from Mercedes ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season

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Mercedes failed to win a title for the first time since 2013 last year as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were third-best for the majority of the Formula 1 season.

Toto Wolff says the Silver Arrows will be back in “more potent form” in 2023 after taking just one pole position and victory last season through Russell.

It was a relatively disappointing campaign for Hamilton as he didn’t win a race or start on pole position in a season, something that had never happened before 2022.

Total-Motorsport.com journalists Adam Dickinson, Andrew Wright, Ed Spencer and Nigel Chiu take a look at what to expect from Mercedes in 2023.

Andrew Wright: Mercedes will challenge for far more race victories

The 2022 season was one full of Mercedes surprises, from the look of the car itself to its performance, or lack of, on the track. It was also the first winless campaign for Hamilton as the seven-time world champion took on the lion’s share of testing responsibilities to uncover the W13’s gremlins.

Russell did manage a victory in Brazil, a splendid one at that, as the Brackley-based outfit finally started to unlock some of the car’s potential.

That momentum will stand them in good stead as they plot a return to the front. Armed with a fresh understanding on what went wrong in 2022, Mercedes will challenge for far more race victories and we’ll see another great battle between Russell and Hamilton.

Ultimately, it won’t be enough to stop Red Bull, but the gap will be a lot closer and they will overtake Ferrari.

Adam Dickinson: Difficult for Hamilton and Russell to win drivers’ championship

The biggest question mark heading into 2023. Porpoising isn’t going away but Mercedes think they have improved their development, wind tunnel and CFD work enough to avoid the same problems they suffered in 2022.

Given the improvements they made over the course of the season I believe them and think they will be regularly fighting at the front in 2023.

However, they could have had two or three wins in 2022 if they’d played their cards right and their raceday operation certainly isn’t as slick as Red Bull’s.

That, combined with the strength of both Hamilton and Russell, means I think it will be difficult for either to win the drivers’ championship.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W14 E PERFORMANCE – On Track

Nigel Chiu: F1 needs Hamilton battling at the front

I said on the Winging It F1 Podcast prior to the 2021 season that Hamilton wouldn’t win an eighth title. To me, there were signs that Mercedes would crack under intense pressure during their most dominant seasons in the turbo-hybrid era, which has proved to be the case with some key strategy decisions over the last two years.

They have lost some technical personnel as well and I think Ferrari and Red Bull are in a better position here. That said, they won’t be a million miles away, just not enough to challenge for the title and will be third best again.

Hamilton will win a race which would be fantastic. F1 needs him battling at the front, it feels more exciting when he’s up against Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc, fighting for the victory.

Even though Russell managed to impressively beat Hamilton in 2022, I think it will be the other way around this year and Mercedes should win a few more races at certain tracks.

Ed Spencer: Mercedes’ season will depend on pre-season testing

After eight fruitful seasons, Mercedes’ luck ran out in 2022 as the W13 turned out to be its least successful car in 10 years, struggling with porpoising, drivability and outright pace.

Things will need to be different this time, but the off-season hasn’t been the smoothest, with the departure of James Vowles to Williams creating a big hole to fill.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom, as near the end of 2022, Mercedes showed signs of progress. Russell proved he’s more than capable of fighting at the front, so 2023 looks promising. 

But they still have their trump card in Hamilton who will be more then motivated then ever to challenge old adversary Verstappen and secure his eighth title.

In general the fate of Mercedes‘ season will depend on pre-season testing, as a repeat of 2022’s struggles will spell another season in the doldrums.

George Russell gets his first taste of the W14, Mercedes’ 2023 F1 car | Finn Pomeroy/Mercedes F1 Team
Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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