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Lewis Hamilton believes that his last season with Mercedes will be filled with a mix of strong emotions and a sense of surrealism.
F1 Sport

Lewis Hamilton believes that his last season with Mercedes will be filled with a mix of strong emotions and a sense of surrealism.

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During the unveiling of Mercedes’s new car, the W15, on Wednesday at Silverstone, Hamilton expressed his pride and complete concentration for the upcoming year. He is confident that the W15 will be a significant improvement for the team.

The team he joined in 2013 was shocked by his decision to leave, especially since he has won six out of his seven Formula One world championships with them. This is the first time the 39-year-old has spoken about it publicly, and he noted that it was a significant moment.

“It’s been emotional, it’s very ­surreal to be here,” the British driver said. “I came here in 2013, 11 years with the team, this is the start of my 12th. It is such a privilege to work with people to see the work they’re doing over the winter.”

Hamilton insisted he remained fully committed to Mercedes and was proud of the efforts they had made during the close season. “The focus through the whole of winter training is getting the team back to where we once were,” he said.

“We have faced challenging times in the past few years, but they have been a valuable learning experience for us. It has given us the opportunity to reassess and reflect. I have always enjoyed collaborating with the team, especially when there are many individuals involved. The human connection is a crucial aspect. Without the dedicated efforts of these individuals, we would not have achieved our goals. It is a privilege to work towards a shared objective throughout the entire year.”

In 2024, Mercedes has high hopes after being consistently outperformed by Red Bull in the last two years. Since the regulations changed in 2022, Red Bull and Max Verstappen have been dominant in the championship, winning 21 out of 22 races last year. Mercedes acknowledged their mistake in design and have taken on a completely new strategy this season in an attempt to catch up to Red Bull.

The team principal, Toto Wolff, was optimistic that 2024 would represent a genuine step forward. “I can’t remember all of us being so ­interested in finally starting the car,” he said. “It’s a complete relaunch, it’s very ­different, mainly underneath. So many ­mechanical changes we’ve done, which we hope will translate into more performance, predictability.”

Mercedes F1 Team W15 car launch.View image in fullscreen

Hamilton and his co-driver George Russell came in second place in the championship last year, but they were not often in the running for a victory. Hamilton, who has not won a race since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, has stated that his decision to join Ferrari was not motivated by a decline in performance, but rather a desire for a new challenge and to fulfill a childhood dream of driving for the Scuderia team.

On Wednesday, McLaren debuted their latest vehicle, the MCL38, and conducted some initial testing at Silverstone. The team ended the 2023 season on a high note, thanks to upgrades implemented during the middle of the season that addressed issues with the car. Drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri achieved nine podium finishes, earning the team fourth place in the championship.

The team is confident that they have maintained their strengths going into the new season and will begin strongly, rather than having to catch up to the leaders.

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Norris expressed unwavering faith in our team’s ability to build upon the success of last season’s turnaround. However, the ultimate measure of our progress will be put to the test during testing, qualifying, and racing at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

This is the first year that McLaren will have the opportunity to fully utilize their newly acquired wind tunnel and simulator. These components are crucial in their strategy to regain competitiveness and vie for victories in the coming years.

Andrea Stella, the leader of the McLaren team who orchestrated last season’s comeback, was confident that they were on track to regain their winning streak.

“At the start of this year, our goal is to capitalize on the success of the previous season. However, we acknowledge that all teams have likely improved. With our infrastructure, team members, and culture in place, we are determined to keep moving forward and expand upon the progress made to return to the top of the rankings.”

Today, despite the chaos and uncertainty surrounding his job, the individual in question is still working on Thursday. This comes after accusations of misconduct were brought against him.

Source: theguardian.com