Russell: Mercedes likely has same wind sensitivity issues as Williams

George Russell believes Mercedes is “potentially in the same boat” as Williams with a wind sensitivity issue on its 2021 Formula 1 car that hurt its performance in Bahrain.

Russell: Mercedes likely has same wind sensitivity issues as Williams

In its push to create more downforce and reduce the drag on its FW43B car for 2021, Williams opted for an aggressive design approach that causes its performance to dip in windy conditions.

Williams driver Russell struggled with the gusty conditions during both pre-season testing and the opening grand prix of the year in Bahrain, meaning he could only finish the race in 14th place.

Russell felt the result was the “maximum we have expected” given the conditions, which he felt made for a “worst-case scenario” for Williams in Bahrain.

He compared the team’s struggles to that of Mercedes, which grappled with an unstable rear end on its W12 car throughout testing and only narrowly won the race ahead of Red Bull after Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton outside track limits and was unable to challenge again after being forced to yield the position.

“Something as substantial as that would require a complete re-design, which obviously we’ve not done,” Russell explained.

“It’s what we’ve got, it’s what a lot of teams have got. Time will tell, but I believe that potentially Mercedes are in the same boat.

“They probably struggled this weekend more than you’ll see them struggle at races in the near future. Red Bull, and the likes of Alfa Romeo, were more competitive relative to the field than we’ll see in races to come.

“When you’re driving around at 300 km/h, 50 km/h wind makes a difference. You can imagine at 50 km/h, it’s with like gusts of 60, 70 km/h.”

Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes celebrates in Parc Ferme with George Russell, Williams

Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes celebrates in Parc Ferme with George Russell, Williams

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Williams is planning to produce some upgrades for the FW43B in a bid to remedy some of the wind sensitivity issue, feeling that a better understanding of the philosophy will also help with future car designs.

New GPDA director Russell is still yet to score any F1 points while racing for Williams, but was more hopeful of the team’s prospects for next weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

“It’s very different to Bahrain, so you’ve got two ends of the spectrum,” Russell said of Imola.

“Bahrain, you’ve got a lot of slow-speed corners, very exposed, generally very windy. Imola is high speed corners, the angle of those corners are less. There are more 90 degree corners as opposed to 180 degree corners.

“It is very enclosed with all the trees and the buildings around, so we’re going to extremes really. [I’m] not necessarily saying Imola is in the top end, but it’s probably in the top half [of tracks for Williams], let’s say.”

shares
comments
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture
Previous article

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Next article

Alpine ‘scared’ itself in Bahrain GP with hot-weather struggles

Alpine ‘scared’ itself in Bahrain GP with hot-weather struggles
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022