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Russell: New F1 approach means Mercedes won’t repeat rushed “mistakes”

George Russell is confident that Mercedes will not repeat the rushed “mistakes” of last winter that saw it fail to capitalise on strong end of season momentum.

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, talks to the press

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The German manufacturer is undergoing an encouraging spell of form thanks to a floor upgrade that has helped Lewis Hamilton finish runner-up at the last two races, although he was subsequently disqualified from the United States GP.

That form bears some similarities to last year, though, when Mercedes enjoyed some strong promise in these same races – which included victory for Russell in the Brazilian GP.

With Mercedes having failed to build on its 2022 momentum as it worked on its current W14 car, there remains a bit of caution about the team’s ultimate potential with its all-new design for 2024.

But Russell thinks that the team is in a very different situation right now compared to 12 months ago, especially as it has understood what went wrong with the design of its 2023 challenger.

“What has caught us out this year stemmed from the winter development,” he said ahead of the Brazilian GP. “We took the wrong direction. We made some mistakes. 

“That was evident as soon as we hit the track in Bahrain. So, going into the third year now, I'm confident we're not going to make those same mistakes.” 

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG

Russell said that his confidence stemmed from the fact that he sees a totally different approach from the team in terms of how it is processing car improvements.

Asked by Autosport where his faith came from, Russell said: “Because I think 12 months on, we have 12 months further information and direction.   

“We've managed to implement some of these changes we want for 2024 in certain tests so far this year, and they work as we anticipate.

“I think the work that we're putting into 2024, we've been a lot more thorough with our assessment of every single decision. 

“The car was nowhere close to where we wanted it to be for the last season and we felt a lot needed to change. We perhaps rushed a couple of decisions without thoroughly testing out on the simulator, going through the potential consequences. 

“We were just trying so many different things and it was more quantity over quality testing last year.

“This year we've really nailed down on the direction we want to go. We've thoroughly tested that process to kind of triple check this is the direction we've taken. So I'm confident 12 months later, we've now got two years worth of learnings. 

“I think and I hope we're not going to be caught out by anything going into next year. This doesn't mean that we're going to have the fastest car on grid. It just means I don't think we're going to stumble at the first hurdle.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

While Russell has not enjoyed as big a step forward with the upgraded Mercedes as team-mate Lewis Hamilton since the Austin weekend, he says that his potential has been disguised by separate issues in recent races.

A need to fuel save in the United States Grand Prix, and then brake overheating problems in Mexico that forced him to back off which then had implications for tyre temperatures, have not allowed him to show the promise that he thinks is there.

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He said: “I'm feeling good with the new updates, to be honest, the last few races have been really poor for different reasons. They haven't been very intuitive races with the limitations that we've had. 

“So having to do the massive management last week because of the brakes, some massive management in Austin because of the fuel, I'm not standing here scratching my head why the pace isn't there. 

“I know without these things, the pace would be there. It's just been a couple of unfortunate events for different reasons. So, I'm kind of glad we've got this weekend here in Brazil.”

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