Mercedes reveal the issue with Russell’s front wing

Henry Valantine
George Russell in the rain. Imola April 2022.

George Russell drives his Mercedes in wet conditions. Imola April 2022.

Andrew Shovlin has explained the issue that prevented the team from giving George Russell the front wing adjustment he wanted at Imola.

Russell was brought in to swap to slick tyres after starting in the wet, and he requested a front wing adjustment that would have brought him better performance in the dry – but Mercedes were unable to make the changes while he was stationary in his pit box.

Russell was reeled in by Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas as the race progressed due to the understeer he experienced as a result of his stop, but managed to hold off the former Mercedes man’s advances prior to the chequered flag.

But Mercedes’ trackside engineering director was on hand to explain just what happened – as the equipment needed took a simple bump on the car on its way to changing the angle, but it then couldn’t do its job as a result.

As he pointed out, Shovlin said the speed required at stops has automated some of the processes the teams use, but that slight contact prevented Russell from getting the set-up he wanted for the second half of the race.

Shovlin said in Mercedes’ post-race debrief video: “The issue with George’s front wing. Well, when we make an adjustment at a pit stop, we actually use an electronic gun that can put a pre-programmed number of turns in there and we have to do that because the stops have gotten so quick you can no longer make a manual adjustment where the mechanics on the front wing would count the number of turns.

“We have a gun that does this and we can programme how many turns we want it to do and it will deliver that.

“The issue we had with this particular stop was actually that both guns had got knocked as they went in on the front-wing endplate, the front-wing endplates on these cars are much bigger and that had caused the gun to reset.


“So, it wasn’t so much that anything had broken, it was really one of those issues that was a feature of the changes that we have made on the car, it hadn’t occurred to us before in practice sessions where we are trying pit stops or pit stop practice itself.

“But that was why we didn’t actually get any adjust on George’s stop and the upshot was that we had to drive the entire stint with that much lower flap angle that we would normally run in the wet.”