Russell teases Mercedes changes: ‘A slightly different car…’ 

George Russell says Mercedes have already made “some big decisions” regarding the development direction of their 2023 F1 car. 
Russell teases Mercedes changes: ‘A slightly different car…’ 

After Mercedes ended up as the fourth-fastest team with a lacklustre performance at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, team principal Toto Wolff admitted his side had made a mistake in continuing to pursue their unique ‘zero sidepod’ concept. 

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Wolff said Mercedes would need to ditch their current philosophy in order to return to the front in F1 and demanded “radical” design changes. 

Russell, who finished a distant seventh and two places behind teammate Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain, remains hopeful that Mercedes will begin to improve with planned upgrades.

“A lot of thoughts, emotions, frustrations after Bahrain but very quickly the team came together incredibly well, put emotions aside, to go about the decision-making process in a pragmatic way," Russell told Sky.

“Trying to think what we need to do to get the performance back as soon as possible.” 

Russell added: "There is definitely a plan in place. It is clear where we went wrong over the winter.

“We probably overshot with the W13 in terms of the aggressiveness of the car, and the bouncing that we faced. 

“And then we probably overshot in the opposite direction with the W14 and compromised too much performance with no bouncing, but the lap time isn’t there to show anything. 

“Of course it’s a difficult pill to swallow for every single member of the team. This lack of performance definitely isn’t through a lack of trying from anybody.

“But some big decisions have been made and we’ll be jumping into a slightly different car.” 

Russell teases Mercedes changes: ‘A slightly different car…’ 

However, the 25-year-old Briton warned Mercedes are braced for several “tough” races before progress is made. 

“We’d like to think we can find performance sooner or later, but when I say sooner that is not this weekend, or next weekend,” he explained. 

“It’s definitely a few races down the line. We need to be realistic and we’ve got to understand where we are at the moment. 

“It’s definitely going to be tough for a number of races to come. Red Bull are in a league of their own, but we really need to focus on ourselves. 

“Once we are on the right track, maybe we find performance quicker than we expect. Who knows?”

Russell is expecting another Red Bull whitewash this weekend in Jeddah but thinks there will be a fierce battle between Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin for the final spot on the podium. 

“It’s a very different weekend in Saudi,” he said. “The track is totally different. The tarmac is different which has a bigger effect than people may think. 

“The fight could well and truly be on for the last step of the podium with Ferrari and Aston. It may not, but clearly Red Bull have a lot of pace in hand and I see them on for another 1-2 this weekend.” 

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