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TEAM PREVIEW: After two years of struggles, can Mercedes return to the top in 2024?

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Anna Francis
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The past two seasons have undoubtedly been tough for Mercedes, with the squad struggling to recapture their dominant form of old. But after some signs of progress, can they come back stronger in 2024? Here’s everything you need to know about the Silver Arrows and what their main goal is likely to be in the year ahead…

Drivers for 2024

Lewis Hamilton #44: 7 world championships, 103 wins, 104 pole positions, 197 podiums, 4639.5 points, 332 starts
George Russell #63: 1 win, 1 pole position, 11 podiums, 469 points, 104 starts

While the past couple of years have been challenging for Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton remains one of the most successful drivers in the sport’s history. The Briton secured six of his seven titles with the team between 2014 and 2020, a period in which the combination of Hamilton and Mercedes seemed unbeatable.

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After narrowly missing out on the world championship to Max Verstappen in 2021, Hamilton has since gone without a race win. He will now enter what will be his final season with the Silver Arrows following the announcement of his shock switch to Ferrari for 2025.

On the other side of the garage, George Russell goes into his third campaign with the squad after a difficult season in 2023, in which he finished eighth in the championship compared to Hamilton’s third. With the British driver set to welcome a new team mate in 2025, he will surely be keen to establish himself as a team leader in the year ahead.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 16: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes and George

Hamilton and Russell will enter their final season as team mates at Mercedes in 2024

Last season

Off the back of a challenging 2022 season, Mercedes’ fortunes did not appear to have greatly improved going into 2023. The team continued to face issues with the W14 car, having stuck with the design philosophy of its troubled predecessor, the W13.

While there was a reshuffle behind the scenes in April when James Allison returned to the role of Technical Director, the Silver Arrows’ on-track form started to show signs of progress, with a high point being a double podium for Hamilton and Russell at the Spanish Grand Prix.

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This was followed by some ups and downs – another positive moment came when Hamilton clinched an impressive pole position in Hungary, while the Sao Paulo Grand Prix marked a particularly difficult weekend for the team.

They did, however, manage to hold off Ferrari to claim P2 in the constructors’ championship, while Hamilton sealed third place in the drivers’ standings, making him the closest challenger to the Red Bull duo of Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 24: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44)

Hamilton finished the 2023 season in third place in the drivers' championship

History

The Mercedes name first appeared in Formula 1 back in 1954, before the company withdrew from motorsport at the end of 1955.

It was in the late 1960s, however, that the team currently known as Mercedes started life in the sport under the Tyrell name. The outfit was eventually sold to British American Racing (BAR), with their first season under the new moniker occurring in 1999.

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BAR went on to partner with Honda before becoming the manufacturer’s works outfit from 2006. However, after Honda announced their withdrawal from F1 at the end of 2008, Ross Brawn and the team’s management stepped in to buy the squad. The newly-named Brawn GP famously went on to secure both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2009 with Jenson Button becoming world champion.

The outfit was then purchased by Mercedes at the end of the season. After some mild success from 2010 to 2013, the squad became the leading force in F1 in 2014, kickstarting a long period of success that saw them claim eight constructors’ titles as well as every drivers’ championship between 2014 and 2020.

Greatest achievement

While other teams have experienced dominance in the sport, Mercedes’ run of eight consecutive constructors' championships starting from 2014 – a year in which they immediately looked strong during the introduction of the turbo-hybrid era – remains an outstanding achievement.

In that time Lewis Hamilton claimed six of his seven drivers' titles, with his team mate Nico Rosberg taking the drivers' championship in 2016. Max Verstappen's maiden world title in 2021 brought that consecutive run of drivers championships to an end.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP

Hamilton clinched his seventh drivers' title with Mercedes in 2020

One key goal for 2024

The off-season has thrown some surprises Mercedes’ way, with the team now having to adjust to the reality of this being Hamilton’s last campaign with them.

However, the Brackley-based outfit remain focused on what they can achieve on track in 2024, with the priority being to find more pace in the car and attempt to take the fight to their rivals.

READ MORE: ‘I hold no grudge’ – Wolff on Hamilton’s Ferrari move, how he was told and the search for a replacement

Team Principal Toto Wolff has stated that the task of challenging Red Bull feels equivalent to facing Mount Everest, but there is a sense of cautious hope emerging from the squad as they look to push forwards.

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