Mercedes F1 Has ‘Mountain to Climb’ as It Launches W15

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read


  • The W15, which features a blended black-and-silvery livery, will be raced by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
  • The car will be the last one that Lewis Hamilton drives for Mercedes before making the move to Ferrari in 2025.
  • Seven-time world champion Hamilton remained winless in 2023 but finished third in the championship, behind only the Red Bull drivers.

Mercedes has unveiled its Formula 1 car for the 2024 season, the W15, and cautioned it still has a “mountain to climb” to catch Red Bull Racing.

Mercedes, which swept to eight successive world championships from 2014 to 2021, finished a very distant second last year as it endured its first winless season since 2011.

Mercedes realized early in 2023 that it had taken the wrong conceptual path with its W14 and set about course correcting for 2024. The W15, which features a blended black-and-silvery livery, will be raced by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

It will be Hamilton’s final year with Mercedes following his revelation earlier this month that he will join Ferrari from 2025.

mercedes amg f1 w15 e performance launch

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1

Mercedes finished a very distant second in the F1 Constructors’ Championship last year.

Team principal Toto Wolff outlined that development has “gone well relative to the ambitious objectives we have set ourselves” but recognized the team still has “a mountain to climb” to reel in Red Bull.

“On one hand, you need to be realistic about the odds of beating a team that is a fair chunk ahead under these regulations, and who got things right over the last two seasons whilst we have not,” said Wolff. “There are no miracles in the sport. On the other hand, our ambition is strong.

“It is Red Bull and a very successful car that are the benchmark we are aiming to beat. I do not know when that will happen, we do not have any crystal ball. But we will know soon enough how far ahead they are and the task in front of us.”

The W15 was designed under the stewardship of James Allison, who returned to the role of technical director partway through 2023, after a spell as Mercedes’ chief technical officer.

mercedes amg f1 w15 e performance launch

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1

James Allison is the technical mastermind behind the W24.

“A big focus has been on improving the previous car’s unpredictable rear axle, which the drivers often referred to as spiteful,” said Allison. “We have worked on that to try and create a car that is reassuring to the drivers. At the beginning of a corner when you’re hard on the brakes and turning in, the rear needs to feel rock solid. And then as you get towards the apex, the car needs to feel progressively more nimble, and eager, to turn. We have been trying to build that into the car.

“We’ve also worked hard to create a less draggy car, and to add performance in the corners. There’s also been some housekeeping on areas in which we had room for improvement, including the DRS effect, and pit stop performance.

“With this current generation of cars, so much of the performance comes from how the floor interacts with the road. Whether or not a car is effective is down to how well that floor is permitted to behave aerodynamically.

mercedes amg f1 w15 e performance launch

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1

This will be the last version of a Mercedes F1 car that seven-time Lewis Hamilton will driver before leaving for Ferrari.

“We feel like we have had a good winter, but F1 is a relative game and only time will tell how big a step we’ve made.”

Seven-time world champion Hamilton remained winless in 2023 but finished third in the championship, behind only the Red Bull drivers.

“The learnings of the past two years have helped us find our direction,” said Hamilton. “It’s enabled us to find our north star. A more stable, more predictable car will enable us to extract the potential from not only the car, but ourselves as drivers.”

Russell, who will stay with Mercedes into 2025 and beyond, endured a fraught 2023 campaign and scored only two podiums en route to eighth in the standings.

“We made progress with some of the nastier characteristics of the W14 throughout last year,” said Russell. “But we still had a narrow operating window and, once we were outside of that, the car was difficult to drive. If we can continue to widen the operating window of the car, that will provide confidence for us as a drivers and from there, lap time is easier to find.”

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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