Russell on Merc’s “big changes”: 'Found more gains in weeks than whole winter'

George Russell says Mercedes have found “more gains in the past two or three weeks than the whole winter” since changing the development direction of their 2023 F1 car. 

A poor start to the season prompted team boss Toto Wolff to concede Mercedes had made a mistake in continuing to pursue their unconventional sidepod design on their modified W14 challenger.  

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Following public criticism from Lewis Hamilton and a crunch factory meeting, Mercedes settled on an action plan of recovery to return to the front in F1, including “radical changes” to their flawed 2023 car concept. 

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Russell teased that Mercedes have already found notable improvements with “big changes” in the pipeline. 

“We’re here to fight for victories and for the championship and clearly we’re not in a position to do that, at the moment,” Russell said. 

“But big changes are incoming - nothing that you’ll see on the car this weekend because, naturally, you can’t get this brought to the car that quickly.

“In due course, we will see some big changes and hopefully the lap times represent that."

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Russell added: “We’re working really hard at the moment with these changes, but I won’t give too much away.

“We’re finding more gains in the past two or three weeks than we found in the whole winter by clearly developing in the wrong window. 

“So it’s definitely heading in the right direction.”

Until upgrades arrive, Russell expects Mercedes to be fighting their customer team Aston Martin and Ferrari for the final spot on the podium behind the dominant Red Bulls. 

“If we manage to get another P4 or fight for the podium, it will probably be exceeding the potential of the car,” he said. 

“Aston will be really strong here. They seem to be the strongest car in medium-speed corners and there are plenty of those here in Melbourne. 

“If we can fight with Aston and Ferrari again, that will be a good weekend.” 

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