Mercedes under fire for ‘absolutely deplorable’ record since epic F1 2021 duel

Thomas Maher
Lewis Hamilton driving the Mercedes W14. Italy, September 2023.

Lewis Hamilton driving the Mercedes W14 during practice. Italy, September 2023.

Mercedes’ failure to rack up more wins in the ground-effect era has been decried by one former F1 team manager.

While dominant between 2014 and ’20 before being toppled by Red Bull and Max Verstappen in 2021, Mercedes have fallen completely off the boil since the ground effect regulations were introduced at the beginning of 2021.

The revolutionary ruleset has seen Red Bull stamp their authority on the sport, while Mercedes have had just one win – last year’s Sao Paolo Grand Prix – with George Russell, on a weekend where Red Bull failed to hook up their RB18.

Peter Windsor: Mercedes form ‘absolutely deplorable’

While Toto Wolff’s Mercedes have been there or thereabouts in terms of being able to compete for podium places and the second-place positions in the championships, former Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor believes the form they’ve shown since 2021 ended is nothing short of ‘deplorable’.

“Amazingly, the almighty Mercedes has won a whopping one race since the new regs,” he said in response to a question on his own YouTube livestream after the Japanese Grand Prix.

“I’ve got a friend who emails me every race virtually with yet another terrible statistic about Mercedes. It’s absolutely deplorable really, isn’t it?

“When you think of who they are and the resources they have, and then you see how well the Mercedes customer teams are going around them, from time to time – obviously not Aston Martin at the moment.

“You think what are they doing? What are they doing? I’m sure they don’t know either. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be doing it.”


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Peter Windsor points to McLaren’s Suzuka advantage

Almost two years into the regulations, it’s McLaren who appear to be making the most of the Mercedes power unit, with the customer team taking a convincing second and third place at the aero-dependent Suzuka circuit, and comfortably beating their engine supplier team.

Windsor said that, based on the evidence of Suzuka, it’s the lesser-resourced McLaren team who are leading the way for Mercedes power.

“That’s where McLaren really scored over Mercedes in Suzuka,” he said.

“You’ve got Lando Norris substantially quicker than Lewis Hamilton in Sector 2 around Suzuka. This, don’t forget, is the Mercedes customer team blowing away the seven-time World Champion in the Mercedes factory team.

“That point should not be forgotten because it’s quite easy in the middle of the day to say ‘Oh, there’s a McLaren, there’s a Mercedes, Lando’s going well, there’s George…’

“You’ve got to remember – that’s the factory Mercedes team with all of their resources and all of the ability they have to bring in all those outside resources to the team, that McLaren don’t have – they don’t even have the infrastructure within the factory, let alone all the other outside support, and they are blowing them away consistently.

“If you’re that quick at Suzuka compared with another car, that’s gonna stay with you for a long time. OK, Sector 3, Lewis was just about there but that doesn’t tell the same story as McLaren’s advantage in the first part of the lap. So a very impressive performance from McLaren relative to Mercedes and, of course, relative to Ferrari as well.”

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