Russell able to sacrifice a part of F1 2023 for long-term Mercedes progress


Mercedes was trying to make a giant step with its new W14, which in contrast to its predecessor is now not crippled by porpoising, however Bahrain’s season opener quickly established that the hole to Pink Bull has elevated once more.

And with Aston Martin, which has intently adopted Pink Bull’s design philosophy, additionally proving faster than Mercedes, it raised questions over the German squad’s resolution to stay with its distinctive automotive design.

On Saturday evening workforce principal Wolff admitted that he did not suppose “this package deal goes to be aggressive”, prompting what could possibly be a radical design change.

Whereas such a shift may take numerous time and compromise the workforce’s leads to 2023, Russell mentioned he was able to take successful this yr if it meant that Mercedes may lastly be aggressive in the long term.

“We’re right here to win,” Russell mentioned after ending seventh in Sunday’s Bahrain race.

“We clearly need to optimise each single end result, however if you happen to give me a alternative between combating and having an opportunity to win races, every time that’s, versus gradual progress and by no means having that probability, you clearly select taking these victories.

“So, if we need to sacrifice some races or a part of a season to offer ourselves an opportunity to get a automotive that may combat, whether or not it is within the second half of the season or even when it is wanting in direction of subsequent yr, that is possibly what we’ll should do, as a result of clearly we’re a good distance behind.”

He added: “No person remembers who finishes second or third. Second is not adequate. And if we have to make some drastic adjustments to offer ourselves a shot on the second half of the yr, every time it could be, that is what we’ll do.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photograph by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Russell admitted Mercedes’ regression was a “large blow”, simply when the workforce was hopeful the mandated 15mm ground increase for 2023 would enable its design idea to indicate its true potential.

“We’re not going to beat across the bush: after all it is a large blow for all of us,” he mentioned candidly.

“We’re a good distance behind the place we need to be. I feel the one Positive to remove from all of this in the intervening time is that there isn’t any basic drawback with the automotive apart from it is missing downforce.

“And as foolish as that sounds, that is most likely one of many best issues to resolve, if you happen to evaluate it to this time final yr. We have gone from the automotive that was bouncing round probably the most to the automotive that is most likely bouncing across the least.

“Maybe with the regulation change we have simply gone a step too conservative in that regard and possibly we have to return just a few steps to achieve some low cost downforce.”

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Nevertheless, Russell would not imagine that abandoning Mercedes’ minimalist sidepod design for that of Pink Bull’s idea is all of a sudden going to show across the workforce’s fortunes, as the ground is a a lot larger contributor to efficiency.

“The rationale we have nonetheless acquired this skinny sidepod idea is we nonetheless imagine that’s finest and, to be trustworthy, I nonetheless imagine that is not going to remodel our efficiency, if we got here subsequent week with a Pink Bull fashion sideboard.

“I do not suppose that is going to all of a sudden discover us half a second. I feel the magic is completed on the ground and the components of the automotive that we won’t see.”

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