Is Mercedes’ W15 F1 car an improvement? George Russell shares first impressions

George Russell has shared his initial feelings about Mercedes' 2024 F1 car after driving the W15 in anger for the first time.

George Russell drives Mercedes' W15 F1 car
George Russell drives Mercedes' W15 F1 car

George Russell gave an encouraging first assessment of Mercedes’ 2024 F1 car after the opening day of pre-season testing, saying the W15 feels “nicer” to drive than its predecessor.

Pre-season testing got underway in Bahrain on Wednesday as the class of 2024 had a first proper opportunity to put their respective new cars through their paces on the first of three days of running before the new season kicks off.

Russell was only 12th-fastest but racked up 122 laps and completed a full race simulation on a solid opening day as Mercedes prioritised long runs and data-gathering with their new challenger.

Mercedes’ revamped W15 and innovative front wing design has caught plenty of attention in the paddock as the team look to rediscover their winning ways and close the gap to reigning world champions Red Bull.

After producing back-to-back flawed car concepts in 2022 and 2023, Mercedes hope their revised W15, described as a “complete relaunch” by team boss Toto Wolff, is a step in the right direction.

And Russell was positive about his initial feeling in Mercedes’ latest F1 machine.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day One.-, EMail:
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir,…

"It was great to drive the W15 for the first time in anger today. From hitting the ground, it felt like we had a good foundation to start from,” the Briton said.

“We completed lots of laps and have plenty of data to go through tonight. We ended the day in a reasonably good spot, and we can build from here over the next two days.

"We will be focused on maximising mileage for learning rather than chasing an optimum sweet spot with the car.

"Overall, the W15 does feel nicer to drive than last year's car.

"We know that it's not about the feeling, but the speed. Nevertheless, today was about learning and not about chasing performance.

"We're focused on ourselves at this test, and it will only be next week where we see where we stack up against the others.

"It was a positive first day and I'm looking forward to being back in the car on Friday.”

Lewis Hamilton did not drive on Wednesday but will get behind the wheel of the W15 for a full day of running on Thursday. 

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