2018 regulation changes made car design “harder and harder” for Mercedes says Hamilton

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton has said that the rule changes for the 2018 Formula 1 season has made car design “harder” for Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.

The shark-fin structure has been erased from the 2018 regulations, after the 2017 saw teams exploit loopholes in the rulebook – with most cars running the contentious ‘T-Wing’. Additionally, the equally contentious ‘halo’ cockpit-protection device is a permanent fixture for the near future, and turning to matters inside the car, teams are now regulated to just three power units per season, a decrease on the four-unit rule seen last year.

And whilst Hamilton said that the challenge is becoming “harder and harder” for teams, he was quick to praise Mercedes in their efforts.

“It’s getting harder and harder for the team in Brixworth and the people in Brackley,” said Hamilton, speaking at the launch of the W09 EQ Power+.

“But they’re continuously rising to the challenge which is great to see.”

Hamilton also said that the new engine rulings place more emphasis on management, with drivers having to preserve their scarce allocation of power units in order to avoid grid penalties. However, the 33-year old noted that management must not get in the way of performance, as Mercedes look for a fifth successive title; for Hamilton, his fourth in six years with the team.

“I think it will be tough for everyone this year with the regulation changes,” he added. “It puts more emphasis on me, making sure that I’m very careful with the engine.

“We just need to make sure that we maximise it as much as possible. Reliability will continue to be a key player in the sport as it has been in previous years.

“But I know that I’ve got the best team working as hard as they can to make sure that we’re at the forefront of that.”

New contract looking likely for Hamilton

Executive Director of Mercedes motorsport Toto Wolff stated his confidence in concluding a new deal for Hamilton, after Aston Martin Red Bull Racing were thought to be interested in the Brit’s services. Hamilton echoed Wolff’s thoughts.

“Toto knows there’s nobody better [than me], and I know that there’s nobody better than [Mercedes],” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll have something done before the first race of the season.”