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Helmut Marko Talks About His Irritation With Mercedes’ Volatile W15

Anirban Aly Mandal
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Helmut Marko Talks About His Irritation With Mercedes’ Volatile W15

Mercedes’ start to the 2024 F1 season has been their worst in some time. The Silver Arrows have failed to live up to their lofty standards as they find themselves behind their customer team – McLaren, in the Constructors’ championship. The root cause of their struggles seems to be the bizarre unpredictability of the W15. This inconsistency has started to irk even their rival – Red Bull’s Helmut Marko.

The ups and downs of performance that Mercedes has struggled with understanding have left Marko confused as well. Motorsportweek.com quoted the Austrian as saying, “What irritates me so much is that the car is really fast at times, and at times it runs at absolute peak times. Then I think: ‘Look, now they get it!’ But that’s always just a flash in the pan.”

The 2024 Chinese GP is the perfect example of what Marko has been referring to. During the Sprint Shootout, Lewis Hamilton secured a stellar front-row start for the Sprint. Even discounting the wet conditions during the event, the Sprint race was held on a dry track. Yet, he powered on to bag his first podium of the season with a second-placed finish.

However, during the subsequent Qualifying session for the main Grand Prix, the Briton was inexplicably knocked out in Q1. Starting the main race on Sunday from 18th on the grid, Hamilton could recover to finish P9 at the chequered flag.

While the team’s technical director, James Allison praised his driver’s efforts, he admitted that they need to stop experimenting and compromise their performances like in China.

As noted by Helmut Marko, Mercedes have failed to understand their own car

It is no secret that the Silver Arrows have failed to understand their own concept this year. Since the advent of the ground effect regulations in 2022, the team have slipped down the pecking order but still had been in the mix for the occasional podium. However, this year, they’ve marked themselves out as a midfield outfit.

The overall package of the W15 has not been in control of the team. The 2024 Saudi Arabian GP is another stark example of this problem. During the entire race weekend, Mercedes were one of the fastest on the straights.

However, during the twisty sector 2 at the Jeddah Corniche Street Circuit, the W15 was woefully sluggish. This was apparent during the Grand Prix when Hamilton was fighting for position against the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris.

His battle with Norris during the final phase of the race showed how the MCL38 was able to pull a massive 0.5s in sector 2 alone. Hence, Norris was able to fend off Hamilton. What’s more, F1 debutant, Oliver Bearman who had started three places behind the Hamilton ended up finishing ahead of him at the chequered flag.

Post Edited By:Aishwary Gaonkar

About the author

Anirban Aly Mandal

Anirban Aly Mandal

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Anirban Aly Mandal is an F1 writer at The SportsRush, with over 1000 articles under his belt, Anirban's love for F1 started when he discovered a copy of F1 2014 on his computer. With over half a decade's worth of time spent religiously following the sport, he’s dived deep into the world of motorsports. However, Anirban's expertise goes beyond just writing - he has also written several academic papers focused on the domain of motorsports and the law. His passion for the sport is so immense that he aspires to work as a legal advisor in the most prestigious racing series in the world someday. When it comes to Formula 1, Anirban finds great pleasure in re-watching classic races and idolizes the likes of Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, and Sebastian Vettel. His top picks include Brazil '91, Silverstone '92, and Germany '19. Outside of the sport, Anirban is an avid sim racer, often found racing on titles like Assetto Corsa, F1 22, and Automobilista. Apart from his interests in gaming, Anirban has a keen interest in philosophy, literature and music.

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