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Formula 1 Miami GP

Russell: Mercedes went too far in trying to solve last year’s F1 problems

George Russell believes Mercedes’ struggles in Formula 1 this year are a consequence of it having gone too far and “overcompensated” for problems it faced with its 2023 car.

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

After another difficult qualifying session in the Miami Grand Prix, as Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton could manage no better than seventh and eighth on the grid, the team is now clear about how far off the pace it is.

While it has faith that its current W15 car has delivered some progress, Russell suggests that some of the challenges it is facing are a consequence of it having gone too far in addressing previous issues.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 about why Mercedes was stuck near the back of the chasing pack behind Red Bull, Russell said: “The fact is the stopwatch doesn't lie.

“We know that probably some of the changes we've made since the end of last year perhaps overcompensated with some of the development items we did.

“We have limitations with the car now, which are a totally different limitation to what we had this time 12 months ago.

“We did so much work to solve the problems, and we've kind of gone too far in that direction. So, we know we need to improve, and we need to improve quickly.”

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Russell has faith that Mercedes has an understanding of what it has done wrong with its 2024 car, and it is now a case of getting new parts through the system to help turn things around.

Asked if the team knew how to improve the car, Russell said: “Yeah, we definitely know how to.

“When we look at the data, we understand why we're in the position we are in right now. Last year, when we looked at the data, we understand why we were in that same position and I think, unfortunately, we've probably overcompensated to solve the problems of last year.

“We've gone from this extreme to that extreme now, and we need to sort of rewind and find ourself sort of in a halfway house.

“But developments and upgrades take eight weeks to run to the car. You learn this problem [at] race one or race two, and you can't just bring those upgrades to the next race.

“You’ve got to put them in the wind tunnel. Someone has got to design it. Someone's got to draw it. Someone's got to build it and then you are halfway through the season.

“I think that's why it's so difficult when you're on the backfoot, to just suddenly make that progress. Everybody expects it tomorrow, and we want it tomorrow, trust me, but this is the reality of F1.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W15

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W15

Photo by: Erik Junius

Tyre sensitivities

Adding to Mercedes’ problems, reckons Hamilton, is the fact that the team has failed to get on top of understanding how to get the most out of the current tyres.

He thinks this is an explanation for why he and Russell can be so quick in some sessions and then struggle the next.

“Trying to get the tyres to work and to deliver the maximum potential throughout the whole lap is something that I would say that we are struggling with,” said the seven-time world champion.

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“We had that glimpse of hope in Q2 and then Q3 was nowhere.”

He added: “For us to be eight-tenths off is tough. Obviously fighting the Haas. I don't know if that is the true speed of our car or whether it's the tyres.

“I think there's a lot in these tyres, and we're just struggling. We've not been able to use them all year.”

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