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Mercedes promises no ‘panic’ in open letter to fans

Mercedes pens an open letter to their fans after a “tough” start to the F1 season

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Previews Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images

The results of the Bahrain Grand Prix were “tough,” in the words of Mercedes.

And the team wants their fans to know they are working hard on turning things around.

In an open letter to their fans released on Saturday, Mercedes admitted that the results of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix “hurt,” but that work is underway to right the ship. “We have been open and searingly honest about where we find ourselves,” said the open letter released to fans on Saturday. “And we are working urgently and calmly to build our recovery plan, focusing on what needs to happen short term, medium term, and long term to win. We already have developments in the pipeline for the next races – and there will be more to come.”

However, the team cautioned that there might not be a quick fix. “But this won’t be the work of a moment; there are no silver bullets in F1.”

Mercedes also outlined how, while the team is facing a challenge, it is one that they relish. “It won’t be easy – but where’s the value in something easy? These are the times when character is forged; the times when a team becomes greater than the sum of its parts, tackling difficult problems and conquering them,” continued the open letter. “We’re together through thick and thin – from Toto, Lewis and George, to every single woman and man in the factories in Brackley and Brixworth. And we love that challenge.”

The letter also included with a call to the legions of SIlver Arrows fans around the world.

A call for civility on social media and beyond.

“Third, we will be calling on each one of you, too, to power us to the front. Whether you’re offering criticism or support, there’s a right way to do it – and a wrong way. We want our online community to be a safe space full of healthy debate, where people treat others and are treated with respect – be they team members, Mercedes fans or rival fans. We have a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination, abuse or bullying of any kind, and will take appropriate action to any comments or posts that do not meet our guidelines. And we want your support to make that a reality throughout our community.”

The letter comes after what has been a tough few weeks for the team. The W14, Mercedes’s challenger for the 2023 season, experienced some reliability issues during pre-season testing, as George Russell’s session on the second day of testing ended early due to a hydraulic failure. The team called that second day of testing “difficult” when the day drew to a close.

Then came the Bahrain Grand Prix itself, which saw Lewis Hamilton finish in fifth, and Russell behind him in seventh. Following the race, the mood around the team was downright despondent. In a statement released to the media including SB Nation Russell wondered if perhaps a turnaround would not be possible until next season, and Team Principal Toto Wolff called the Grand Prix “one of our worst days in racing.”

Since then, Lewis Hamilton has lamented that the team did not listen to him when designing the W14 ahead of this season, and the team’s Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin indicated that changes would be coming to the car sooner rather than later.

And now, the team is outlining their vision for the near future, and hoping that their fans will join them in relishing the challenges ahead.