George Russell and Lewis Hamilton agreed on one aspect of the 2023 Mercedes, the W14, after the team revealed they were returning to the ‘Black Arrows’ livery last sported in 2021.
As the team attempts to return to the front of the grid following a disappointing 2022, Russell and Hamilton were asked what aspects of last season’s they wanted to carry over to the W14.
“I think the biggest strength was reliability,” Russell told select media including Total-Motorsport.com. “Because of our strong reliability, that allowed us to get into positions and capitalized from others’ slip ups so that’s really important not to fall back on.”
Hamilton added: “Our long run pace was very strong last year, I think that our race pace was always stronger. And also a reliability, so those two are the things I think that we definitely want to hold onto, but all the other stuff we want to reinvent, redesign and see a more efficient car.”
Mercedes didn’t suffer a single mechanical retirement in 2022 as their only two DNFs came from crashes – at the British Grand Prix for Russell and in Belgium for Hamilton.
Despite being clearly the third-best team at a lot of races over the season, Mercedes managed seven trips to the podium across the season often picking up the pieces from Red Bull and Ferrari.
The championship leaders combined for 14 DNFs across the season, including five in the first four races.
Russell: 2022 Mercedes was ‘a good car in there’
However, by and large Mercedes were consigned to picking up scraps from the frontrunners thanks to their fundamentally flawed chassis which suffered hugely from porpoising.
The W13 turned plenty of heads when it was launched featuring a radical ‘no sidepods’ concept, but it soon became clear the Silver Arrows were suffering major problems around porpoising that prevented them from pushing and dogged them all season.
“We made really strong starts last year,” Russell added. “We were one of the best in starts, which is a place where you can obviously win or lose a lot of positions and I do believe deep down there was a lot of downforce on that car, we just couldn’t unlock it.
“So there probably was a good car in there somewhere but there was just so many of the factors just trying to pull it back away from its full potential.”