F1: 2024 car should be Mercedes’ priority now – Hamilton

(GMM) Lewis Hamilton thinks Mercedes should consider switching its full focus to next year’s car.

Although the seven time world champion is yet to agree a new contract with the German marque, it is clear he intends to stay.

“Of course I want to develop the car as much as possible this season,” he told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF in Austria. “But my eyes are clearly already on 2024.”

The 38-year-old earned a rebuke from Max Verstappen earlier this weekend after suggesting the FIA should limit Red Bull’s ability to dominate each season by banning car development for the following year until 1 August.

Lewis Hamilton – LAT Images for Mercedes

Red Bull’s team boss, Christian Horner, also responded to Hamilton.

“He’s obviously talking from personal experience,” Horner smiled. “I think it would be an incredibly hard thing to police.

“How on Earth could you say, ‘right, it’s the first of August – go!’ How do you prevent people thinking about or working on next year’s cars?”

However, Hamilton is clearly worried that Red Bull’s big lead in 2023 will now translate into another year of dominance in 2024 – because the team can focus on next year’s car much earlier than the trailing rivals.

Hamilton’s ‘plan B’ is that Mercedes simply follow suit.

“I want us to have a car capable of fighting for victory from the first race,” he said at the Red Bull Ring. “I don’t think we absolutely have to focus on a victory this season.

“The majority of our efforts must be concentrated on next year and on the fact of being able to race at the front, to be competitive, to compete with the others.

“When a team is one, two or three months ahead of you in terms of development, it’s impossible to catch up with them during the season,” Hamilton added.

“And I don’t want to chase after the others again next season. I don’t want to play hunter for another year.”

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