Russell on W14 updates: “What we’ve tried in the simulator so far has been positive”

Spread the love

The cancellation of last weekend’s race at Imola means Mercedes’ new updates will be on show for the first time at the Monaco Grand Prix. A big change to the sidepods and front suspension is the start of a long-term project to get the team back to the front of the Formula One field. The zero sidepod design ultimately did not pay off for the Brackley-based team.

Speaking in a media session ahead of the race around the famous streets of Monte Carlo, George Russell has no doubts about the package Mercedes has brought to the event, but he won’t be taking be drawing too many conclusions from it because of the uniqueness of this venue.

“No, there’s no doubts. We’re obviously aware that this is a very one-of-a-kind circuit, and we’re not going to really read anything into the performance that the new updates show.

“This weekend there are always outliers in teams who overperform around a track like Monaco, and teams who underperform around Monaco, but ultimately we don’t design a car to be at its peak in Monaco. You look at some teams in the past, like Ferrari in the last ten years, they’ve always been very strong here.

“We just need to get through the weekend and take a review once we get to Barcelona and go from there.”

The 25-year-old has no concerns about the updates and any potential pitfalls that could come with it at such a narrow and tight circuit as he trusts his team. In fact. he’s glad Mercedes is going for it with the updates here.

“I think you always need to go into a circuit like this with a degree of respect, and you need to build up to it. But I trust in the team and I don’t think there’s going to be anything that’s scary with regards to this new update that totally throws us off-piste.

“So, as I said, we’ll treat this weekend as a bit of a one-of-a-kind, and then re-evaluate again in Barcelona. But I can’t imagine there’ll be anything that will necessarily hold us back.

“To be honest, I’m glad that we are proceeding with the update this weekend, because you always want to put as much performance on the car as possible, and it would have been a demoralising weekend for all of us had we known we’ve got a bit of performance on the table just sitting there in the factory.”

Russell and Hamilton have both tried the aero and mechanical updates on the simulator ahead of this weekend’s event. The younger Brit is hopeful that it could give them an even bigger benefit in real life as the Mercedes pair could feel more confident in the car after being held back by the ‘poisonous’ W14 for most of the current campaign so far.

“What we’ve tried in the simulator so far has been positive. As you said, it’s both aero and mechanical. Aero is normally talking about overall downforce, which every driver, every team is chasing, so that is not necessarily guaranteed lap time, but it’s definitely going to bring performance. The mechanical ones, we need to wait and see once we get on the track.

“There are arguments to say it may deliver more on the track than it delivers on the sim, because it’s going to be helping our confidence in driving the car, whereas in the simulator confidence isn’t really a limitation. So there are merits in saying potentially there’s more to be gained on the track than what we’ve seen on the sim. But as I said, we just need to re-evaluate next week.”

Nonetheless, he delivered a note of caution about the potential ground they could make up on Red Bull Racing as he expects other teams to keep improving and moving the goalposts.

“It’s always challenging because there’s a lot of talk around our updates. Other teams are also going to be bringing updates, especially next week, so I can’t imagine there’ll be a huge step in performance from anyone, because we’re all moving those targets.”

Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team