Formula 1 | Mercedes safe: Lewis Hamilton’s seating problem is solved

Lewis Hamilton complained about the seating position in his Mercedes in 2023, which the team has addressed for the 2024 Formula 1 season.

With its new Formula 1 car, Mercedes has not only eliminated a “treacherous” rear end, but also apparently changed it in another area that Lewis Hamilton found problematic.

Because Hamilton not only had to struggle with the tricky rear of the W14, which at times robbed him of his self-confidence, but was also dissatisfied with the seating position last year.

At the first races of 2023, Hamilton said: “I don’t know if people know this, but we sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers. Our cockpit is too close to the front. When driving you have the feeling of being on the front wheels sitting, which is one of the worst feelings when driving.”

“That changes the attitude of the car and the way you perceive its movements,” the Englishman continued. “It’s harder to predict the car’s movements than if you’re sitting further back and closer to the middle. That’s something I really struggle with.”

As part of a series of changes Mercedes has made to its new W15, early images suggest the team has responded to Hamilton’s complaints by moving the driver further back relative to the front wheels.

Mercedes: These are the changes to the W15

As pictures from last week’s W15 shakedown show, the cockpit was removed up to 100 millimeters from the front axle.

The chassis, tank and transmission had to be redesigned to accommodate this change while maintaining the maximum wheelbase.

However, the move from Mercedes’ zero-pod design to a downwash solution has favored this cockpit change, as the deep recesses in the chassis necessary to bring the radiators closer to the vehicle centerline are no longer needed.

This also allowed the team to widen the fuel tank across the entire width of the chassis and therefore shorten it.

The unusual positioning of the upper side impact structure (SIS), which required its own fairing in 2022/23, has now found a new location further back than before. As with the rest of the field, the SIS at Mercedes is now integrated into the main body of the sidepod.

Additionally, the team has switched to a pushrod rear suspension which, along with the redesigned transmission package, is now packaged differently to fit in with the other changes previously made.

Mercedes: Allison doesn’t want to overstate Hamilton’s words

Although Hamilton didn’t like the position of the cockpit in the W14, engineering boss James Allison believes his complaints were more a symptom of the car’s weaknesses than the cause.

“Lewis’ way of saying this is to talk about his seating position. George never talks about his seating position, but he describes exactly the same ugliness of the car,” he said late last year.

“If we do that [die Instabilität] “If we could fix it properly, the only thing Lewis doesn’t like about his seating position is that he has a harder time seeing the apex of the corner because he’s sitting a little closer to the tire than if he were sitting a little further back.”

“But the seating position itself does not create a perception problem that makes it difficult for him to see how the car should be driven,” says Allison.

“If he sat exactly where he wanted, he might be able to drive the unruly car a little more precisely. But it’s about getting rid of the unruly thing, not about optimizing his seating position so that he can cope with something that’s not good. “

“We focused on making it less terrible. And I would say the Austin upgrade was a small step forward in that regard. And with any luck the car will [2024] be much better.”