ITALY: Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has acknowledged the limitations faced by the team in resolving Lewis Hamilton’s complaints about his seating position.
Hamilton had voiced his concerns, stating that the cockpit of the Mercedes F1 car placed him closer to the front wheels when compared to other drivers, affecting his driving experience.
However, addressing this issue is not a simple task, as Wolff explained that the range for adjusting the seating position is within five to fifteen centimetres.
The start of the F1 season has seen Mercedes fall short of their pre-season expectations, with their W14 car significantly slower than the Red Bull RB19.
Hamilton and his teammate George Russell have highlighted various problems with their Mercedes, including a lack of downforce, cornering speed, and straight-line performance. Hamilton’s seating position now joins the list of concerns.
The seven-time World Champion expressed his dissatisfaction, explaining that sitting closer to the front wheels gave him an uncomfortable sensation, altering the car’s dynamics and making it harder to predict its movements.
Wolff acknowledged Hamilton’s feedback, emphasising the importance of listening to a driver of his calibre.
However, altering the seating position to Hamilton’s preference is not a quick fix to their problems. Wolff clarified that the team could adjust the cockpit position by five to fifteen centimetres and added that moving it further back is not feasible.
While the team takes the drivers’ feedback seriously, they believe the issue does not pose significant technical problems.
Instead, the team is determining the broader concept of the driver’s position in the cockpit, considering factors such as weight distribution, aerodynamics, and the driver’s overall comfort and feeling in the car.
Wolff expressed confidence that Mercedes’ upcoming upgrades, initially planned for Imola but postponed due to flooding, will improve driveability and pace for both Hamilton and Russell.
The enhancements include new suspension parts, bodywork, and other components. Wolff tempered expectations, noting that significant performance gains rarely come from a single change but from a combination of improvements.
However, he believes these upgrades could enhance stability, predictability, and lap times. While a silver bullet solution that magically unlocks significant performance is unlikely, Wolff remains optimistic about Mercedes’ prospects.
Addressing the stability and predictability issues could provide a valuable boost. As the team continues to fine-tune their car and respond to feedback, Hamilton’s seating position will be just one aspect of their comprehensive efforts to reclaim their competitive edge in the fiercely contested F1 season.