Grand prix

What to expect from Mercedes and Hamilton in F1 2023?

What can we expect from Mercedes? 

Top of the agenda for Mercedes heading into 2023 is ensuring that their new car is one that is capable of challenging for world championships again. 

Mercedes have spent much of the 2022 season trying to get on top of their troublesome W13 after battling excessive porpoising that blighted their performance during the early rounds of the campaign. 

Unable to mount a title fight for the first time since 2013, Mercedes have found themselves with the third-fastest car during the first half of the 2022 season, behind rivals Red Bull and Ferrari. 

The German manufacturer will be determined to return to winning ways in 2023 and unlock the kind of competitiveness that saw the team record eight consecutive constructors’ titles between 2014 and 2021 and win seven drivers’ championships in the same period. 

Mercedes boast one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid with their all-British pairing of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who require a car worthy of their talents. 

A change of car concept? 

Mercedes turned heads when they rocked up to Bahrain pre-season testing with a radical slim sidepod design – a stark contrast compared to their rivals. 

While most teams have favoured a similar design route to Red Bull, Mercedes have so far remained faithful to their ‘no sidepod’ concept, which the team believes has bags of potential. 

However, Mercedes have left the door open to the possibility they could drastically change their car concept for the 2023 season. 

Earlier this season, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insisted there are “no holy cows” that are sacred on the team’s 2022 F1 car. 

Speaking about Mercedes’ concept at the French Grand Prix, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin added: “We don’t think that just changing our sidepod will change our competitiveness. 

“We’re certainly not of that mind, nor are we wedded to saying this is how the Mercedes car must look.

“So from the very early part of the year, we’re looking at other team’s bodyworks and certainly with a view to next year, looking up and down the grid to see ideas.

“It may be that we don’t just take another team’s idea. We’re looking at combinations of different concepts.

“It’s a gradual process, but I think fundamentally our car isn’t going to change appearance massively this season.

“But I’d be surprised if next year’s car looks the same.”

Will Lewis Hamilton stay? 

One of the biggest question marks for Mercedes going into 2023 is whether Hamilton will extend his F1 career and race into 2024 and beyond.

While Russell’s future is clear given the 24-year-old signed a long-term deal with Mercedes, Hamilton’s current contract expires at the end of 2023. 

Hamilton will be 38 by the time his existing deal runs out but the Briton insisted he still has “plenty of fuel left in the tank” after becoming just the sixth driver in F1 history to reach 300 races at the French Grand Prix. 

On the same weekend in France, Wolff said with a laugh that Hamilton could continue with Mercedes for another “five to 10 years”, reach 400 races and target 10 world titles before he retires. 

Hamilton had previously said he did not want to race into his 40s, but the seven-time world champion hinted he has since had a change of heart. 

“I firstly just want to be grateful to get to this point,” he said. “I’m still fresh and still feel I’ve got plenty of fuel left in the tank.

“Of course I want to get back to winning ways and that’s going to take time. I’m sure we’ll sit down at some stage and talk about the future.” 

Hamilton added: “I’m enjoying what I’m doing, and feel really proud working with this incredible group of people.

“I’m also enjoying working with the sport more than ever. We’ve got some great people leading the sport, we’re having great conversations about the direction we’re going in.

“I’m enjoying it more than ever.”

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