George Russell, Mercedes, Bahrain International, 2024

“Definitely an improvement”: Russell says Mercedes have fixed flaws with new car

Formula 1

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George Russell believes Mercedes have finally solved the problem which has plagued their cars since the current technical regulations were introduced two years ago.

Having covered 121 laps in the new W15 yesterday, Russell said he felt much more confident in the car than he was in its predecessor.

“The car last year was really challenging to drive,” he said. “Lewis [Hamilton] and I had no confidence in it. It felt like it was going to bite us at every single corner.

“Now we can attack the medium and high-speed corners without the rear end snapping out. We feel like we’ve made a really good step in terms of the consistency of the car.

“We can really lean on it better than we’ve been able to in the past, and this was a huge focus throughout last year. We saw many flaws with the W14 which the team have done a really great job to rectify.”

He believes the new car is a strong starting point for the team’s development programme over the coming season.

“We’ve now got a car mechanically where the aero guys can go and focus on just building downforce upon that. Whereas in the past, whatever we did aerodynamically, there was underlying issues with the race car that took a while to understand and solve.”

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Russell was only 12th fastest yesterday and is cautious about the team’s prospects following their win-less 2023 season.

“You can definitely tell from the very beginning if the car’s an improvement and if it’s nice to drive. It definitely is an improvement, there’s no doubt about that. But you could have the worst car to drive, but if it’s faster than everybody else, you’ll be happy with it.

“So it was definitely pleasurable to drive yesterday. I had a good feeling within the car. But we know that all of the other teams have made a good step forward and right now it’s definitely far too early to say.

“We have a huge mountain to climb to catch up what Red Bull were doing last year and how far ahead of everybody else they were. We need to wait and see. But we’ve definitely got a much better platform to build upon and it’s not the diva that it was in the last two years.”

He is hopeful the team will be able to make rapid gains on Red Bull, who have dominated the last two seasons of F1 since the current regulations were introduced.

“When the car feels nice, but it’s not quite at the pace, you just need to find downforce in the right places,” he explained. “But in this iteration of regulations, there’s definitely a sweet spot for all of the teams.

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“You want the car as low as possible, but you can’t go too low in case you’re bottoming out or you cause bouncing, which is still a little bit there in the background for some teams. It doesn’t take a lot to find that sweet spot and find a lot of performance.

“Hopefully Red Bull are already in that sweet spot and we can close that gap but it’s going to take a lot of hard work to do so.”

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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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3 comments on ““Definitely an improvement”: Russell says Mercedes have fixed flaws with new car”

  1. That’s good. That should help them add performance without worrying.

  2. We’ve now got a car mechanically where the aero guys can go and focus on just building downforce upon that

    Sounds like they’ve got some work to do then.

    1. Yeah, doesn’t look like they will be going for a real championship fight either then.

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