Hamilton had previously said that he knew the W14 wouldn’t be competitive as soon as he drove it for the first time, insisting Mercedes did not listen to his warning last year.

Hamilton then admitted “it wasn’t the best choice of words” but his teammate Russell has now offered up the information that both drivers were in agreement with the direction of the W14’s development.

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“We were aware of the concept, Lewis and I. We did believe that this was the right direction,” Russell said at the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“But we, as a team, have clearly missed something that happened over the winter and we’re working hard to rectify that now.”

Team principal Toto Wolff, on the eve of the first race of 2023, conceded that the W14’s concept needed to be totally reconsidered. Although minor upgrades will be brought to Jeddah, Mercedes do not expect to compete with Red Bull.

Russell said about the internal dilemmas at Mercedes: “The conversations that have been had, many people accepted that these decisions weren’t the right ones.

“But nobody is pointing fingers and blaming them for making decisions that were made with the best intentions and the info that we had.

“When it comes to car concepts, when it comes to decisions of where a team of 2000 people are going to be heading, it’s never one person directing that.

“You’ve got probably six senior technical people who work together, with everybody who is beneath them, the knowledge that’s coming from the drivers, the work we’ve done on the simulator and those decisions are passed by and agreed upon by everybody.”

Little is currently known about the major changes that Mercedes plan to make to the W14 to return it to the front of the grid.

“We’re pretty sure of the direction we need to go down,” Russell insisted.

“There’s never 100 percent certainty because, if I’m being honest, sat here after Brazil, I would have said I’m 100 percent certain the path we’re on is the right path and all of you in the room would have probably believed it looking at the progress we’ve made.

“Something has changed over the winter. The FIA have changed the rules with the floor. We probably haven’t captured that in the way others have, we’ve overlooked this and we’re not where we want to be.

“We know a change of concept doesn’t come without risks.

“We all feel like we’ve got enough knowledge and information to say ‘we weren’t on the right track’ so the targets we set over the winter weren’t the right ones and we need to change lanes as soon as possible.

“Those decisions have already been made and we’ve already started working towards them as of probably Tuesday last week.”