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Mercedes F1 drivers making time away from races to rank problems - Allison

Mercedes Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have dedicated time away from “fractious” race weekends to rank car problems to help find fixes for 2024.

James Allison, Technical Director, Mercedes-AMG

James Allison, Technical Director, Mercedes-AMG

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Amid the eight-time constructors’ champion’s ongoing ground-effect struggles, technical director Mike Elliott and chief technical officer James Allison swapped roles back in April.

Allison has alluded to this change leading to a shift in how Hamilton, who has cited a ‘constantly improving process’, and Russell are involved in the work back at the Brackley factory.

He reckons that while the team has more access to its drivers at a race, the pair have “put aside time for us in a slighter cooler environment of home” to rank their grievances.

He explained: “The race weekends, you get your greatest access to the drivers because you're with each other for many hours.

“But it's also a very fractious environment to interact because the pressure of doing well at the circuit means that it's just slightly less objective than if you're doing it back at home.

“The drivers have been good enough to put aside time for us in a slightly cooler environment of home.

“That has proved useful; it’s proved helpful for ranking the problems they have, for seeing the opportunities and just making sure that the things that we are working on are well aligned with what they're describing.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Hamilton has previously expressed his discomfort with the seating position of the W14, which is further forward relative to rivals to make him less confident with the rear axle.

Russell, meanwhile, has moved towards a softer set-up in recent rounds - something he credits with improving his qualifying performances.

Allison added that Mercedes had been “charting a path” and has a “very clear idea” of the areas it must address for 2024, even if this might have been overlooked by the outside world given that the team has not made the in-season progress of McLaren.

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He continued: “I feel like all of us have a pretty clear-sighted view of what we want to do with the car.

“This championship, while we haven't made the really impressive progress that McLaren have, we have nevertheless been charting a path through the season that gives us a very clear idea of what we need to put right.

“So that makes next year very exciting to look forward to and this period of the year extremely enjoyable.”

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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