George Russell believes the incoming restrictions on Formula 1 engine modes will have the opposite effect of slowing Mercedes down.

A technical directive coming into force from this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza will prevent teams from changing the high-performance power modes on their engines between qualifying and the race, restricting them to a single setting for the grand prix weekend.

The move was expected to rein in some of Mercedes’ advantage in qualifying on Saturdays but team boss Toto Wolff suggested it will actually make his side more competitive in races because it will have more power available due to not running its ‘party mode’ during Q3.

Russell is convinced the regulation change will end up hampering Mercedes’ customer teams – Williams and Racing Point – much more than it will affect the works outfit.

“I think unfortunately it will probably affect us and Racing Point more than Mercedes,” Russell said. “Purely because Mercedes are so far ahead in qualifying anyway.

“If anything it’s only going to help them even more in the race. So the whole idea of trying to slow them down is actually going to go completely the opposite way and is only going to enhance their performance.

“I think on a Saturday it will probably compromise us a tenth or two. But we expect it to also compromise the other manufacturers a tenth or so. So we are probably net one-tenth down on a Saturday.

“But on a Sunday we’re definitely net up by a big margin. And I think what Mercedes have done to improve the engine to allow us to run a very high engine mode for the whole race is really impressive and she’s going to be flying on the Sundays.”

His teammate Nicholas Latifi believes Williams will gain more power in the race after testing the power unit mode changes in the team’s simulator ahead of this weekend’s race at Monza.

“Like George said, it’s going to be a few tenths, tenth or so, in qualifying, it’s going to hurt us a bit,” he explained.

“But in the race it’s only going to help us so we’re going to have more allocation, more laps of a higher engine mode that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to run for so long.

“So it’s going to be interesting to see how it stacks up.”

 

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