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Hill 'anxious' over continual Mercedes failure

The 1996 World Champion has spoken of Mercedes' struggles in the ground-effects era and how the team could be missing tricks to rivals - in particular Red Bull.

Damon Hill
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Damon Hill has shared his "anxiety" over Mercedes' repeated failures with the aerodynamic ground effects technical regulations.

Between 2014 and 2021, Mercedes scooped 15 of the 16 titles on offer with Lewis Hamilton winning six of the eight Drivers' titles, with Nico Rosberg picking up the 2016 crown before Max Verstappen ended the vice-like grip in 2021.

For 2022, the technical regulations were revamped with ground-effects returning, with Mercedes dethroned after getting its W13 concept badly wrong with the so-called zero sidpeod design.

It doubled-down on that with the W14, but abandoned it at the Monaco Grand Prix for a more conventional design, although the team is still to win a race this season - having claimed at least one every since 2012.

Mike Elliott - the technical director turned Chief Technical Officer responsible for the design has now left the team - with Hill wondering if Mercedes is missing a trick with the aero rules.

Hill's anxiety over Mercedes

"My anxiety is this, which is that for a long time, Mercedes' dominance really was down to their power unit," Hill explained on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast.

"They had the best power unit for a very long time, and the aerodynamics were always slightly different to Red Bull's.

"If you remember towards the end of the previous Formula 1 regulations, they persisted with their relatively flat-looking rake on the car, whereas Red Bull was absolutely huge.

"They led the way and everyone started following Red Bull with this very high rake. It looked like a rat running along the car. It had a very high back.

"But Mercedes stuck persistently or doggedly with their [concept], they looked like they were running a different aero concept on their car in the previous regulations, and then along come a new set of regulations.

"What I'm saying is, is the Mercedes aero department missing a trick here? They've lost quite a few good aero people to other teams as well, over time."


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