Brundle: Mercedes’ inability to get a grip on W15 ‘very worrying’


Sky F1 commentator Martin Brundle was unimpressed with Mercedes’ once again subdued performance in the Japanese GP, describing the team’s persistent inability to get a grip on its car's issues as “very worrying”.

The Brackley squad’s display last weekend marked its worst showing at Suzuka in over a decade, with George Russell limping to a seventh-place finish and Lewis Hamilton trailing even further behind in ninth.

The disappointing outcome further compounded a frustrating start to the season for Mercedes, particularly for Hamilton, who has yet to clinch a podium finish this season, let alone a race win, a satisfaction he last enjoyed in Saudi Arabia in 2021.

Adding insult to injury, Mercedes’ decision to opt for a one-stop strategy at Suzuka after the race was red flagged on the opening lap backfired spectacularly due to excessive tyre degradation.

Mercedes has admitted that the data gathered from wind tunnel simulations isn't translating effectively to real-world performance on the track.

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This significant correlation issue throws a wrench into the team's development efforts and creates a major hurdle for them to overcome if they want to challenge for the championship.

"They've got to understand this car and I think that's a grave concern for all of the people there," said Brundle on the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast.

"There's a lot of very clever people, with a huge amount of resource, performance tools and budget. I'm not going to try and second guess what's wrong with it, or state what I think is wrong with it, because if they don't know, then I certainly don't know."


Lack of consistency and performance swings have been the main themes dominating Mercedes’ troubles so far this season.

Case in point: Hamilton described FP1 on Friday as his “best session of the year”, a sentiment echoed the following day after qualifying although the Briton was only seventh fastest in the Saturday shootout.

But 24 hours later, Hamilton was hard pressed to take any positives away from his efforts on race day.

While glimmers of progress have emerged, consistency remains elusive. Mercedes continues to grapple with unpredictable car behavior, hindering their drivers’ ability to consistently challenge their Red Bull and Ferrari rivals.

"They cannot get a handle on these ground-effect cars,” added Brundle. “This is the third season of these regulations. They turn up, they think they have aced it, a lot of positive noises, and then it still bounces a little bit with the porpoising.

"But their problem is, from time to time, the thing performs beautifully and they are really quite fast in phases. But, they can't seem to reproduce that session to session, let alone day to day, let alone Grand Prix to Grand Prix.

"This is the problem they have got - this knife edge of a car that sometimes looks like they have finally sorted it and more of the time they just can't understand it.

"When you've got that, when all of your tools and all your clever people don't correlate with the stopwatch and the performance of other cars on the track, and you can't seem to nail it down, then that's really frustrating and I would say very worrying."

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