It is no secret that Mercedes were looking to be fighting at the front of pack once again in 2023 but after just one race the team have written off any chances of winning the championship.
Just after qualifying in Bahrain a few weeks ago Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had already written off the teams championship hopes after speaking to the media after qualifying. Wolff was very critical of the concept Mercedes had gone with once again after a tough 2022 season which saw the 8 time champions take 1 pole position, a sprint race win and a grand prix win the latter of those coming at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes engineers have now been tasked with a the challenge to get the team back to winning way within a month. The German teams wants to be competing for wins once again by the time the Baku and Miami grand prixs rolls around. Toto Wolff has said that radical changes need to happen and believes the 'zero sidepod' concept cannot be developed any further.
George Russell has backed Toto Wolff saying that change needs to happen in order for the team to be winning again. This comes after the Briton finished P7 in the Bahrain Grand Prix, something he will look to improve on at the Saudi Arabain Grand Prix coming up this weekend. Russell excelled where Hamilton didn't in the 2022 season with the difficult W13 however looks to be struggling with the W14 compared to his 7 time world champion teammate.
After the Bahrain Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton made some comments which offered an insight to what moral could be like in the team. Hamilton said that Mercedes did not listen to his feed back on the W13 last year and decided to move in the opposite direction he was telling them to go in with the car. He thought the team would listen to him considering his experience in Formula 1 and having been racing for 30 years now.
2023 is an important season for Lewis as well with his contract being up at Mercedes. Both him and Mercedes have been looking to win a record breaking 8th world championship since the start of 2021 but on both occasions had either a devastating outcome or not the car to compete. Unfortunately time is not on Hamilton's side with him being 38 which is seen as a 'old age' in F1. This only giving Hamilton only a few years left to try and win his 8th championship but as seen with Fernando Alonso this year at Aston Martin age is just a number.
There has been rumours circulating around the paddock since Hamilton's comments in Bahrain that he may leave Mercedes when his contract is up and could be headed to a rival top 3 team such as Ferrari. Everything is up in the air in the F1 paddock and rumours spread like wildfire so take this with a pinch of salt. Mercedes and Hamilton's relationship may well be a big talking point going into the Saudia Arabian Grand Prix this weekend and with the teams only driving at one track so far this year the order could well shake up once again.
Mercedes are aware that fans are not happy with the perfomance of the car or the team and even release an open letter reading: "Bahrain hurt. It hurt each one of us, who head into every season determined to fight for world championships. It hurt the team as a whole, after pouring so much hard work into a car that hasn’t met our expectations. And we know it hurt you, our fans, too. Your passion and support are so important in driving us forward – and we know that we feel the same pain". You can read the full letter here.
FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2023 SCHEDULE (UK Time)
Friday March 17th: Practice 1 (FP1) : 13:30 - 14:30 Practice 2 (FP2): 17:00 - 18:00 Saturday March 18th: Practice 3 (FP3): 13:30 - 14:30 Qualifying: 17:00 - 18:00 Sunday March 19th: Race Start: 17:00