George Russell reveals ‘drastic’ test approach to cure main Mercedes issue

George Russell reveals Mercedes are resorting to "drastic" test items in a bid to fix their main weakness.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 locks up under braking. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 locks up under braking. Formula 1…

George Russell says the high-speed deficiencies of Mercedes’ 2024 F1 car are particularly “exposed” during low-fuel runs in qualifying.

Russell could only qualify ninth for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix and was outpaced by Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for the first time this season at Suzuka.

The Briton, who admitted a mistake in Q3 cost him a potential top-five starting grid slot in Japan, revealed Mercedes are trying some “drastic” test items in a bid to cure their mean weakness.

"We know the strengths and weaknesses of our car. The weakness is high-speed corners,” Russell said.

"When you get to qualifying, you take the fuel out, the corners are becoming faster and faster and faster. So, the pace naturally sort of goes away from us a bit in those corners.

"We're definitely doing more drastic test items at the moment to try and get on top of this high-speed performance. The car is correlating well in low speed and medium speed.

"But we're a long way off in the high speed compared to what we're seeing back at base. So, we need to get on top of that.

"When you get to qualifying and the fuel comes out, the speeds are only going higher, higher and higher and that sort of runs away from us slightly.

"Whereas in the race, you're probably going around the corners 30km/h slower in a high speed, which brings it back into more of a medium-speed corner rather than a high-speed corner.

"So, we need to understand that. And it's good it's been exposed this early in the season.”

Russell believes that the start of the 2024 calendar has only exacerbated Mercedes’ problems.

"Unfortunately, just with the nature of this calendar, we've had three circuits in a row that are all high speed," he added.

"If we started the season at Bahrain, Baku and Singapore, we'd probably be talking a very different picture for us."

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