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Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes are planning significant changes to their F1 2023 car after just one race

Ryan Sidle

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Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes are planning significant changes to their F1 2023 car after just one race

Mercedes are already planning a 'radical' change to their W14 car, after just one Formula One race of the season, which will be music to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell's ears.

The last thing that Hamilton would have wanted was another poor start to the year, after going the entirety of last season without a win, for the first time in his career.

Unfortunately though, Mercedes turned up to Bahrain well off the pace once again, as they did in 2022, and the seven time world champion finished the first race of the season 50 seconds off Max Verstappen.

The result for Toto Wolff's team kicked off a total meltdown, with Hamilton laying into the car and an emergency meeting was soon called.

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Whilst Red Bull did try to calm everyone down on their dominance, saying it would soon 'melt away,' it was claimed that Merc were in the middle of a 'civil war.'

However, if the eight times Constructors' champions want to get back to the front of the grid then they might have to change things.

The team's 'zero-sidepod' design has come in for a lot of criticism but it could soon be gone, with the team's trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has revealed the car will soon have 'visible changes.'

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"People have tended to use the word 'concept' when they mean the sidepod design, and Toto had said recently that we are looking at a revision that is going to come along in the next few races anyway," Shovlin told Formula1.com.

"Given the gap to the front, of course we are going to look at bigger departures and more radical changes. But those changes take time to turn into a faster solution in the wind tunnel – you can't do them overnight.

"There is quite a lot of development that you've got to do around any sort of big change in geometry in that area.

"Of course, we are looking at where we can improve the car, we are looking for potential to develop and you will see visible changes coming on the car over the next few races."

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It was a tough race weekend for Hamilton. Image: Alamy
It was a tough race weekend for Hamilton. Image: Alamy

That will not come soon enough for Hamilton, and teammate Russell, who need all the help they can get this coming weekend in Saudi Arabia.

The team's biggest updates would usually be expected to come for the race in Imola, which isn't until May, and would be too late to compete for the title.

Shovlin added, "Ultimately, we've got a lot of work to do. That gap in qualifying was quite large; we were over half a second to the front. In the race that was even bigger.

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"...Clearly, we've got something that's not in the right place that we need to work on, but ultimately the other thing is that performance gap to the front. The raw pace of the car is not good enough.

"We are working very hard at the moment to understand what we can do in the short-term future and in the mid-term future to try and get ourselves in a better place."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, Saudi Arabia, Mercedes, George Russell

Ryan Sidle
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