George Russell is fine for Mercedes to maybe sacrifice another F1 season in order to find the right package as he notes where they may have gone wrong.
Questions have been raised about the inconspicuous start that Mercedes as a team have made to their F1 2023 campaign. As a team, 2022 was also a slow burner for the Brackley outfit but a remarkable run of consistency from the middle to the end of the season saw them finish very strongly and probably have high hopes for this year.
But the apology last week from the team to fans in light of the disappointment result in Bahrain possibly tells a different story. As a team, there is all possibility that this season will be another written off after accepting of the concept not working.
The changes to the car is known to the drivers Lewis Hamilton and Russell, who finished fifth and seventh in Bahrain. The latter reckons it is the right approach considering that they do not finish to settle for a podium with the current car but go for the kill if changes help them to be where they belong.
“We’re here to win,” said Russell to media. “And we obviously want to optimize every single result. But if you give me a choice between fighting and having a chance to win races, whenever that is, versus slow progress and never having that chance, you obviously choose to one of taking those victories”.
“So, if we want to sacrifice some races or part of a season, to give ourselves a chance to get a car that can fight, let’s say, whether it’s the second half of the season or even if it’s looking towards next year, that’s maybe what we’re going to have to do because clearly, we are a long way behind”.
“As I said, we’re here to fight for championships, we’re here to win. And nobody remembers who finishes second or third. And for me, personally, if I would have finished second in the drivers’ championship this year or seventh, it makes no difference. I’m here to win. And I want to win championships. I want to win races”.
“And that’s what every single person in Mercedes wants to do, second isn’t good enough. And if that’s what we want to do, if we need to make some drastic changes, to give ourselves a shot at second half of the year, whenever it may be, that’s what we’ll do,” summed up Russell.
Fifth and seventh wasn’t the worst of days that Mercedes have had but for the team who had a myriad of success in the past, it would appear they want to start now from scratch and put Bahrain to one side by bringing updates aimed for the future in the races to come.
“I mean, we always had some different concepts in the background,” noted Russell. “But I mean, the reason we’ve still… let’s say, this skinny sidepod concept is because we still believe that is best and, to be honest, I still believe that’s not going to transform our performance, if we came with a Red Bull style sideboard”.
“I don’t think that’s going to suddenly find us half a second. I think the magic is done on the floor and the parts of the car that we can’t see,” summed up Russell. It’s been a tough and challenging beginning for Mercedes but there is no doubt they will get back to last seasons late charge and be back at the sharp end of things.
As stated above, last year was sluggish to begin with and they suffered with porpoising more than most but they were pretty much second best behind Red Bull for the remaining quarter of 2022. “It’s challenging, you always try and make the best decisions with the knowledge and information you’ve got,” continued Russell.
“And it’s only when you hit the track, you learn new things and recognize maybe something’s caught you off guard or something’s been a bit easier or more challenging than you expected. And as I said, we… because of our limitation with the porpoising last year we put a huge amount of emphasis on solving this problem”.
“And we’ve gone from the worst car to the best car in this regard. But it’s probably come with a compromise of overall performance and downforce. Maybe the FIA reg change sort of done the majority of the work for us, and we’ve spent all winter trying to solve it. And it was solved in another regard, but… I don’t know, we need to…I think we need to be objective. I don’t think we should make any rash decisions. And we saw the gains we made last year. There’s no reason why we can’t do it again. But you know, for sure the starting point is much lower than we want,” summed up Russell.
Here’s Mercedes writing a letter to its fans