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Russell sheds light on the root causes of Mercedes’ underwhelming performance



Russell sheds light on the root causes of Mercedes underwhelming performance

Mercedes’ performance in the 2022 Formula 1 season left much to be desired, but according to George Russell, the team has identified the root causes of its limitations and implemented significant changes to address them.

According to George Russell, Mercedes appears to possess crucial insights into the factors that led to its underwhelming performance in the 2022 Formula 1 season, as well as the necessary measures to remedy them.

The team encountered challenges such as car bouncing and a compromised performance, but it is optimistic about a better showing in the upcoming season, having identified the root causes of its past limitations and implementing significant changes to overcome them.

Although Mercedes achieved its goals, the team faced a harsh reality check in Bahrain as it suffered a significant loss to Red Bull, which set the pace, and was also outperformed by Aston Martin and Ferrari.

George Russell revealed that the team convened a meeting last Tuesday, which addressed the questions of what went awry, how it happened, and the necessary steps to rectify it. He stated that the team has a good understanding of the approach it needs to take.

George Russell acknowledged that there can never be complete certainty in Formula 1 because unexpected changes can occur, citing the example of his win in Brazil last year.

Mercedes' underwhelming performance

He stated that he was confident at the time that the team was on the right path, and others would have agreed based on the team’s progress. However, something changed over the winter, and Mercedes did not capture the implications of the FIA’s rule changes on the car’s floor, unlike its competitors.


As a result, the team did not perform as expected due to setting incorrect targets and misjudging what was required, combined with the new rule changes that increased the height of the floor edges by 15mm.

George Russell indicated that after tackling the core bouncing issues in the previous season, Mercedes may have gone too far in addressing the problem, which led to a compromise in performance and downforce. In contrast, his teammate Lewis Hamilton claimed in a post-race interview in Bahrain that Mercedes did not heed his advice.

However, Russell clarified that this referred to a specific area rather than the root of the team’s issues. He also emphasized that Mercedes must be discerning about what changes to make in the budget-cap era since funds are not limitless. Russell added that many people recognized that some of the decisions made in the past were not optimal.

George Russell clarified that nobody is casting blame or pointing fingers at individuals for making decisions that were based on the best available information and made with the best intentions.

He explained that when it comes to car concepts and overall team direction, it is a collaborative effort that involves the six senior technical personnel working together with the entire team’s knowledge base, including input from the drivers and the work done on simulators. The decisions made are then reviewed and agreed upon by all parties involved.

According to George Russell, both he and Lewis Hamilton were aware of the car concept, and they believed it was the right direction for the team to take. However, the team missed something that occurred over the winter, leading to their current struggles.

Mercedes' underwhelming performance

The team is working hard to correct this issue. The timeline for Mercedes to fix all its problems is currently unclear.

It appears that Mercedes has already started to produce upgrades based on the current car concept, with a focus on revising the sidepods. It is anticipated that this revision will be implemented in time for the start of the European season, which is set to begin at Imola in May.


According to George Russell, Mercedes should still implement these upgrades because they can provide the team with short-term gains using the current car, while deeper changes are developed in the background.

The team’s focus is on increasing the car’s performance rather than discussing specific results or where they may end up in the championship. However, the team is aware that it is uncertain how much performance other teams may bring to the competition.

George Russell suggested that because Mercedes may have been overly conservative in their approach, there could be performance gains that the team could reclaim more quickly than they would typically see in the standard development process. In other words, the team may be able to recover lost ground faster than expected by being more aggressive in their development approach.

George Russell acknowledged that changing the car concept involves inherent risks. However, the team has concluded that they were not on the right track and set the wrong targets over the winter. Therefore, they need to change direction as soon as possible.

Russell indicated that the team has already made decisions in this regard and started working on implementing them since last week. He added that the pace at which these changes can be brought to the car and translate into improved performance remains uncertain.

Russell sheds light on the root causes of Mercedes’ underwhelming performance Russell sheds light on the root causes of Mercedes’ underwhelming performance