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Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, watches Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15, exit the Swimming Pool Chicane
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Formula 1 Monaco GP
Special feature

Why the badly-timed Mercedes F1 struggles are tough to overcome

Having spent two seasons bedevilled by bouncing, Mercedes has (almost) fixed that problem. But its latest car is still capricious, difficult to drive, and generally off the pace. As ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, its struggles to tame ground-effect Formula 1 cars are being manifested at unfortunate times on race weekends and in a wider context too

Is this why he did it? Beyond the sheer allure of Ferrari and/or the sting of a 1+1 2023 contract extension revealing the timeline for Toto Wolff’s driver succession plan, did Lewis Hamilton look at Mercedes’ initial design for its 2024 challenger, the W15, and conclude it wasn’t good enough to keep him around?  

This is now Mercedes’ predicament. Three times in a row at the start of this regulatory era, it has failed to produce a class-leading car in keeping with the iron-clad pedigree it established with seven drivers’ and eight constructors’ crowns between 2014 and 2021. And now Hamilton – its undisputed seven-pointed star – is departing. Possibly, disillusioned.

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