George Russell, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Russell suspects Mercedes played it too safe with W14 after “aggressive” predecessor

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: George Russell suspects Mercedes over-reacted to the problems they encountered with last year’s W13 by producing a car which is too conservative this year.

In brief

“Clearly the lap time isn’t there” in W14 – Russell

Russell said there’s “definitely a plan in place” at Mercedes to tackle the problems with their latest car as “it’s been clear where we went wrong over the winter.”

“I think we probably overshot with the W13 in terms of the aggressiveness of the car and the bouncing that we faced,” he told Sky. “And then we probably overshot in the opposite direction with W14 and compromised too much performance with no bouncing and clearly the lap time isn’t there to show anything.

“So of course it’s a difficult pill to swallow for every single member of the team, and its lack of performance is definitely not through a lack of trying or commitment from anybody. But yes, some big decisions are being made and we’ll be jumping onto a slightly different path, well, already.”

Stroll still “not 100%”

Lance Stroll says he’s in much better shape for the second race of the season as his injured wrists continue to heal, but he hasn’t recovered fully yet.

The Aston Martin driver said it was “pretty painful on the Monday” after the Bahrain Grand Prix, where he finished sixth, “but it was a good weekend for the team so it’s worth a bit of pain.”

“It’s feeling better every day so I think the worst part is behind me,” Stroll explained. “I’m still not 100%, it takes a bit of time for these things to heal. But I’m definitely feeling much better than I was 10 days ago in Bahrain.”

Perez is a hit

Sergio Perez is the focus of a hit song in his home country. “Lewis [Hamilton] arrived to the press conference playing it,” he revealed yesterday. “He was dancing to it.”

Perez has tried to play the song, “De 0 A 100 Checo Pérez” by Jary Franco, to his children, with limited success. “Sometimes I play those songs when I take my kids to the school,” he said. “I ask them which song they want to listen to and I push them to say the Checo Perez song. And they always say ‘no’! So we always end up playing different songs.”

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Comment of the day

Does F1 make a positive difference when it visits repressive regimes? @PeteBaldwin isn’t convinced:

Well done Lewis. F1 being in Saudi Arabia won’t make a single thing even remotely better for those living there. If anything, it makes the situation worse as the ruler’s behaviour becomes normalised and accepted by the wider world.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Herman, Jp From Treasures, Themagicofspeed, Tmax and Alistair C!

On this day in motorsport

Kimi Raikkonen gave Lotus their final win on this day in 2013

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “Russell suspects Mercedes played it too safe with W14 after “aggressive” predecessor”

    1. The safe way for Mercedes would have been to follow one of the proven designs, rather than heading ever further down theír very own rabbit hole.

      1. Well.. to be fair.. they went down the safe route in their own direction. All their performance was sacrificed in just avoiding porpoising. I feel they should have understood this last season itself.

    2. Another driver-specific song, but this time from a different artist.
      BTW, how could Checo’s kids already attend school at their ages?

      From full-temporary circuits, in Singapore & Melbourne, pit building is the only permanent structure, while in LV, paddock facilities will apparently be the only permanent features.

      I thought Masi had entirely left FIA when the formal announcement came, although in any case, employee NDA clauses are valid for a given period after departure. Someday in the distant past.

    3. Not exactly Supermax is it? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a much better performed song for sure, but the campiness is what makes a great drivers song. Like DJ Visage’s Schumacher song.

    4. I have to ask: Does anyone who says things like the COTD actually know any Saudi Arabian nationals?

      I do, I work with them daily in fact. I assure you they do not believe that anything needs to be made “better”…they are all very proud of their country and they are all living very comfortable lives from what I can see. The simple fact is that, and I know no one here wants to admit it and that is fine, the actions of the British, French and latterly the Americans have done more to destabilise this region than anything Saudi Arabia has done.

      1. @geemac Well-put & COTD worthy.

      2. Whataboutism makes you super-sexy … to your Saudi national coworkers.

        1. @proesterchen They are all men and I am married (to a woman). No dice boss. :)

      3. Sure, there are abundant historical and geopolitical reasons for why Saudi Arabia is like it is. That’s true of any country. It doesn’t erase the fact that the current government in the present day is executing people without fair process, imprisoning political protestors and prosecuting war crimes in Yemen (to say nothing of its archaic attitudes to women’s rights). Personally, I don’t care if its own citizens are proud of this country, it is more than fair to hold it to scrutiny.

        1. @frood19 Two things:

          1) The West also imprisons people without due process, it’s the reason why Guantanamo Bay exists.
          2) Britain and the US sell arms to Saudi Arabia allowing it to carry on that war. They also give aid to Yemen, presumably to appease their consciences.

          I don’t see US and UK citizens calling for their governments to be removed or “held to scrutiny” for those actions.

          My point is that no country is perfect so the constant “Middle East = bad, West = morally superior” rhetoric which comes out of news outlets whenever we race in the Middle East is tiresome and lazy.

          1. It’s easy to be proud of your country when you’re on the right side of their medieval laws. What if you’re not? Torture, execution?

            1. @phil-f1-21 On that basis cisgender WASP’s have no right to be proud of any country in the western world…

          2. Quite polarizing topic and shows how difficult it is to have empathy and put yourself in someone else shoes.

            I’ve been fortunate to live several years in different countries on different continents and all have have pros and cons. You’re fully right to state that perfect country doesn’t exist and on top of that we all have different ideals and couldn’t agree on which would be the perfect one.

            It is also easy to throw the stone at Saudi for what they haven’t done (from a western perspective) but forget to recognize the progress made lately. How many years did it take Europe and US to allow women to vote, to drive and at which cost? I believe that changes take time and by wanting to move too quickly, it risks to create resistance and fail.

            Sometimes you also need an honest talk with a friend to realize there is a problem that needs to be solved but it can take time before you accept it. But if you insist too much, the friend might just reject the idea. Hopefully human rights will evolve with time while respecting the culture of the locals so that it benefits them first.

            I would also be interested to hear from @Geemac how F1 events are seen from within and if newspapers are publishing cases of locals offended by visitors under dressed or not respecting local customs?

            In any case, no matter where you’re from, you’re usually offering constructive and open minded comments which are appreciated (and unfortunately becoming more rare).

            1. This is a very fair comment and there is more than one side to every story. I completely understand the argument that by engaging and connecting more with people and those in authority in places like Saudi, this brings about change, albeit at a slow rate. However, in the context of sport, my argument is, that there really is no need to host an F1 race in Saudi, or similar places. There are plenty of countries with better human rights records, note I say better, not perfect, that would love to host a race. However, the suspicion of many people is that places like Saudi get to host races because they are willing to offer large sums of money to do so, in turn for the FIA/Liberty turning a blind eye to the abuses which go on.

              Judging by this article, things in Saudi may even by going backwards:

              No one is saying that ‘western’ countries are perfect. Governments regularly turn a blind eye to abuses in countries they want to sell weapon to and have their own skeletons in the closet. So do other sports governing bodies. However, it would just be better if the FIA and F1 were better than this.

            2. @jeanrien

              I would also be interested to hear from @Geemac how F1 events are seen from within and if newspapers are publishing cases of locals offended by visitors under dressed or not respecting local customs?

              You would be stunned at how little mainstream press F1 gets across the region. Your average person here is more interested in the events around the race (concerts and such) than the race itself. There is usually little in the way of advertising for the event, its mostly word of mouth that brings the race to the attention of non-racefans.

              Newspapers rarely publish things such as those you mention because they happen so rarely, if they do its usually tourists who are either (a) ignorant of the rules or (b) deliberately not following the rules. Things like that get way more media attention outside the region because the vast majority of us who live here do follow the rules. That doesn’t mean I live in fear of being arrested, I’m just mindful of my surroundings. Would I run around in the street, speaking loudly and shouting obscenities after having had a few drinks in this region? No, never. But I also wouldn’t do that in my home country either.

    5. Yellow baron
      17th March 2023, 16:29

      I wonder if one day the mental toll on masi will one day bring him to throw the NDA into the wind. To tell us all what transpired and why may lift a heavy weight off his shoulder. He should do it for his own wellbeing.

      Does anyone know what they can actually do against him if he goes against the NDA? As far as I’m aware he works in Australia now.

    Comments are closed.