Lewis Hamilton’s Departure from Mercedes Unveiled in Drive to Survive Series

Lewis Hamilton sheds light on the tension that developed between him and Mercedes, ultimately leading to his decision to part ways with the team at the end of this year.

Hamilton expressed his frustration with Mercedes’ handling of their first car designed for the technical regulations introduced in Formula 1 in 2022. In an interview with the program makers, he revealed the team’s dismissal of his warnings, saying, “I remember complaining to the team and being like, look, we have to make these changes, otherwise this is the trajectory we’re going to go on and this is where we’re going to end up. Please, please do something about it.”

Recalling the team’s response, Hamilton added, “I remember they said, like, we know what we’re doing, you’re wrong. And that was definitely an interesting moment. I was like, okay, I’ll step back, don’t want to step on anybody’s toes. Then when we got into the season, then we spoke again [they said] ‘oh, maybe you were right.”

Mercedes, having won only one race in the past two seasons with the W13 and its conceptually similar successor, confirmed a shift in philosophy behind its new car for 2024 early last year. Technical director Mike Elliott left the team, and James Allison, his predecessor, returned to the role.

The Drive to Survive series was completed before Hamilton’s announcement of his departure from Mercedes, revealing his move to Ferrari. Despite the strain in their relationship, Hamilton disclosed that last year, Mercedes had started consulting him and teammate George Russell more closely on their plans for the new W15.

“I do continue to have lots of meetings back to the factory on so many different topics about the car, whether it’s ride quality, whether it’s vehicle dynamics, whether it’s suspension, whether it’s steering, whether it’s about tyres, whatever it may be,” Hamilton explained. “So we’ll continue to have that, and I think we have a better process than we’ve ever had before.”

He emphasized the collaborative approach, stating, “It’s much more engaging for both George and I. We often have meetings where we’re both in that room together so we’re able to really deep-dive on any questions that the engineers don’t potentially get to come to the grands prix, if they’ve had any questions they can ask.”

Hamilton also shared his recent visit to the aero department, highlighting the determination within the team despite the challenging period. “It’s clear that no one’s happy with where we are and how we’ve done this year, but it was massively encouraging to see how driven everyone was. Everyone’s heads were down, everyone was at their stations and clearly pushing incredibly hard.”