George Russell provides Mercedes hope with glimpse into F1 2024 season

Henry Valantine
The vintage car drivers' parade at the United States Grand Prix, with Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

George Russell believes Mercedes’ work behind the scenes has seen them “nail” the direction they want to take in 2024, after two seasons struggling to match Red Bull.

Mercedes sit second in the Constructors’ standings with two races remaining in 2023, but Max Verstappen’s 524-point personal tally is still 142 points clear of the combined score of Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton so far this year.

Russell has taken Mercedes’ only win of the ground-effect era, back at Sao Paulo in 2022, but Red Bull’s domination of the sport has seen Verstappen sweep all before him in the process while others play catch-up.

George Russell offers update on Mercedes’ progress with 2024 car

Team principal Toto Wolff admitted Mercedes took the wrong direction with their car concept in 2022, trying to run it “on the deck” and maximise the ground effect aerodynamics, but as a result both Russell and Hamilton suffered arguably the worst side effects of ‘porpoising’ on the grid.

They eventually managed to get on top of the issue and have closed the gap to the front over the past two years, but Red Bull, particularly with Verstappen behind the wheel, still seemingly hold a significant advantage over the rest.

Russell revealed that the work going on at Mercedes has changed from ‘quantity over quality’ to the team having now zeroed in on the areas they want to pursue for 2024.

With that, he thinks that the team should not be “caught out” when the W15 rolls out for pre-season testing in February, even if they do not have the fastest package to begin with.

“Twelve months on, we have a further 12 months of information, and we’ve managed to implement some of those changes we want for 2024 in certain tests this year,” Russell told reporters, as quoted by RacingNews365.

“The work we’re putting into 2024 is a lot more thorough with our assessment of every single decision, and the car was nowhere near where we wanted it to be last season.

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“We felt we needed a lot of change, and perhaps we rushed a couple of decisions without thoroughly testing in the simulator and going through the potential consequences.

“We were just trying so many different things, and it was more quantity over quality testing, and this year, we’ve really nailed down on the direction we want to go.

“We’ve tripled-checked our processes with the direction we’ve taken and I’m confident 12 months later, with our two years of learnings, that we’re not going to be caught out by anything.

“That doesn’t mean we’re going to have the fastest car, but it just means I don’t think we are going to stumble at the first hurdle.”

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