Dark
Light
George Russell Undermined by Team Orders

“Focus, George, focus” Wolff’s Radio Call: A Hindrance for Russell?

15/06/2024

Wolff’s radio directive to George Russell sparks debate on its impact and his error-prone performances.

Is George Russell too error-prone under pressure? Last year in Singapore, as he was vying for victory, the Briton crashed on the final lap while pursuing Carlos Sainz.

History repeated itself at the recent Canadian Grand Prix: George Russell had the pace to make a significant impact but veered off the track while in second place, behind Lando Norris.

Mid-race, Toto Wolff, the team boss, even took to the radio to admonish George Russell: “Focus, George, focus,” he urged.

However, Damon Hill believes that Toto Wolff made a managerial mistake with this radio message—which, in fact, might have weakened and distracted George Russell.

“The problem with George is that he had already achieved top-tier status before joining Mercedes. He wasn’t making many mistakes. When you reach the summit, you’re at the center of attention, everyone watches everything you do, and you’re subject to much more scrutiny. In any case, everyone is more attentive to even the slightest fault.”

“Well, I don’t know. I think it can be somewhat disheartening if your team leader is giving you focus advice over the team radio during a race. I believe he knows what he’s doing, to quote a famous racing driver.”

“When Toto came on the radio, I thought: My goodness! I remember when my team leaders would come on the radio, I would panic and think: What have I done to warrant this? So, I’m not sure if it’s helpful. Perhaps he needed that calming voice. Maybe he needed someone to say: ‘Listen, re-center yourself, you have what it takes, but stay focused.'”

However, the blame is not solely on Toto Wolff.

Damon Hill readily admits that perhaps George Russell is trying too hard to assert himself as the team leader, especially with Lewis Hamilton present and Andrea Kimi Antonelli possibly signing soon.

“It’s a problem for George. He’s there at Mercedes, they haven’t had much success recently… but he’s definitely doing the job for them. Lewis is moving to Ferrari next year. He’s trying to establish himself as the driver leading the team… and I don’t think he’s there yet because they keep talking about his teammate for next year instead of focusing on George.”

“Mercedes should support him a bit more, give him a bit more confidence, and then perhaps he won’t need to try so hard to prove his worth on track. Because I get the feeling he’s trying to compensate for some things. I think he needs to calm down. He has the speed, he has the ability, he’s very smart. I’m sure he can measure up if they give him a little more comfort.”

Barcelona, the Crucial Test for Mercedes F1?

Despite its recent struggles, Mercedes F1 has confirmed it is on the path to recovery in Canada. However, Monaco and Montreal are very specific tracks.

Thus, for Hill, the decisive test for the upgrades of Mercedes F1 will be in Barcelona, a classic and more representative circuit of the rest of the calendar.

“It seems incredible, doesn’t it? But it’s been a while since they had a car that even slightly resembled one with which they could race like that, and the drivers were pleased. Lewis, in particular, was very, very happy. It’s not the first time. He said he was very happy during the free practice, then it seemed to fade during the qualifiers. But George did a good job with the car he had to clinch the pole position. The car looked beautiful on the track.”

“The Mercedes F1 seems grounded.”

“The car didn’t appear nervous, and it wasn’t bouncing… and it seemed a bit able to use every curb. So, they are comfortable, they are happy. The new front wing seems to have been the element that harmonized the aerodynamics and enhanced performance.”

“Taking this car to Barcelona, which is the next race, will be the ultimate test of their progress.”

“Barcelona is a real wind tunnel. It’s all about pure aerodynamics, with medium to high speeds throughout.”

George Russell: Undermined by Team Orders?

George Russell: Undermined by Team Orders?. George Russell: Undermined by Team Orders?

Newsletter

Next Race
Hungarian GP18 Jul - 21 Jul
Time
UK
FP112:30
FP24:00
FP311:30
QU3:00
Race 2:00
Upcoming Events
Date Race
21 JULHUNGARIAN GP
28 JULBELGIAN GP
25 AUGDUTCH GP
01 SEPTITALIAN GP
15 SEPTAZERBAIJAN GP
Go toTop