George Russell: Mercedes driver confident over 2023 car design philosophy


Mercedes have endured a difficult season under 2022’s new design regulations; Russell has impressed in his debut campaign despite the car’s struggles; watch the Japanese GP live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend with qualifying on Saturday at 7am and the race at 6am on Sunday

Last Updated: 03/10/22 3:17pm

George Russell is 'confident' over Mercedes' car for next season

George Russell is ‘confident’ over Mercedes’ car for next season

George Russell has revealed a new “philosophy” Mercedes are working towards on their 2023 car design has left him confident of a return to contention next season.

Mercedes have endured, by their extremely-high standards, a dismal 2022 campaign, failing to challenge Max Verstappen and Red Bull for both the drivers’ and constructors’ world championships.

A series of performance issues with the W13 has left Mercedes without a win going into the final five races of the season, while a poor weekend in Singapore saw them fall away from Ferrari in the battle for second in the constructors’ standings.

With Mercedes’ hopes of meaningful success in 2022 having been over for a long time, focus has been shifted to the 2023 car, and Russell is adamant the team are on the right path.

“We have a philosophy that we’re going to be trying to adopt in our development and I’m very confident that is the correct one, but equally, it doesn’t mean that we can necessarily achieve it,” said Russell, who has driven impressively to sit fourth in the world championship despite his team’s struggles.

Highlights of the Singapore Grand Prix from the Marina Bay Street Circuit

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Highlights of the Singapore Grand Prix from the Marina Bay Street Circuit

Highlights of the Singapore Grand Prix from the Marina Bay Street Circuit

“We have a target, and that is a massive positive in itself. We know what we’re chasing, we have a clear target we’re trying to chase now.

“Can we achieve that? I have every confidence that we can. We obviously don’t know how much our rivals are going to improve over this winter, but I definitely have confidence that we will have a more complete car across the circuit range going into 2023.”

Mercedes were the talk of 2022 pre-season testing when cars built under radical new design regulations were revealed for the first time, as the eight-time reigning constructors’ champions revealed a no-sidepod look not seen on any rival vehicles.

That risk did not pay off, but Russell appeared to suggest Mercedes may once more go in a different direction to what is expected.

“It’s data driven, to be honest. We do a lot of analysis on the races we’ve been competitive, the races we’ve been slow, and trying to understand why that was and I think we’ve managed to gain quite a grasp onto that and understand why at certain circuits we were so much more competitive than others,” he said.

There was a big shock in qualifying as Russell failed to make it into Q3 in Singapore

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There was a big shock in qualifying as Russell failed to make it into Q3 in Singapore

There was a big shock in qualifying as Russell failed to make it into Q3 in Singapore

“We’ve only managed to learn that over the course of these races and I think that triple-header after the summer break was quite telling for us, with our performance between the low-downforce and high-downforce circuits.”

Further explaining his confidence, he said: “I don’t want to go into too much detail because it’s something that we’ve worked very hard on to understand and hopefully will give us an advantage into next year, so I don’t want to say anything that will potentially benefit our rivals.

“But at the end of the day every single car is different. I have to say I mentioned a couple of times this year that I thought we understood our car and were on the right track, but we have been set back with a couple of issues that we weren’t expecting.

“But I think we’ve had enough races now, that we’ve gone through so many different scenarios, I can’t really imagine there’s going to be another one that catches us by surprise.

“We’ve had the porpoising issues, we’ve had the ride issues, we’ve had the car touching the ground and damaging the floor, we’ve had so many different issues and we believe now that we’ve got a direction that we need to head in.”

Russell claimed the first pole position of his career earlier this season at the Hungarian Grand Prix

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Russell claimed the first pole position of his career earlier this season at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Russell claimed the first pole position of his career earlier this season at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Mercedes’ surprise struggles have coincided with Russell’s debut season with the team, but having been around as a reserve driver before joining, the 24-year-old is adamant complacency was not an issue.

“I think not being complacent has been a massive factor in the team’s success for so long,” Russell said.

“I found it pretty inspiring to see when we brought this new concept to the car for 2022, with the sort of no-sidepod philosophy, even though, obviously, retrospectively now it hasn’t necessarily worked out for us this season, it showed an attitude within this team that it doesn’t matter how much success they’ve had, they’re still willing to push the boundaries.

“I think that gives me confidence moving into the future because you have to make these bold decisions sometimes, and sometimes they go against you, but sometimes they don’t. And if you are just complacent, settling for an easy route, you’re never going to win, so I think if anything that attitude is maintained, we’re pushing the boundaries.”





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