George Russell compares driving Mercedes W14 to riding a ‘lame horse’

Oliver Harden
George Russell sat in the Mercedes W14. England, February 2023.

George Russell sat in the Mercedes W14 at its first shakedown run. England, February 2023.

George Russell has likened the Mercedes W14 car to a lame horse, claiming the team’s job across the 2023 Formula 1 season is to make it “fast and tame”.

After being restricted to just a single victory in 2022, claimed by Russell in Brazil, Mercedes were shocked to find themselves six-tenths away from pole position at the first race of 2023 in Bahrain.

That result appeared to plunge the team into crisis, with team boss Toto Wolff claiming Mercedes had followed the wrong development path with the W14 and ordering sweeping changes to restore Russell and Lewis Hamilton to regular race-winning contention.

Mercedes have shown promising pace in the following two races, Russell pushing Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin hard for a podium place in Saudi Arabia before securing a front-row start in Australia.

Both Russell and Hamilton led in the early stages before the former retired after 17 laps with an engine problem. Hamilton came through a dramatic race with Mercedes’ first podium finish of the season.

Asked by German publication Bild if the uncompetitive Williams in which he spent the first three seasons of his F1 career was easier to drive than his current Mercedes, Russell said: “It is comparable to riding a horse. recommends

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“A Mercedes is a faster horse than a Williams. But it’s not just about speed.

“Riding a horse from A to B and it doesn’t zig is like sitting in a Formula 1 car that suits your driving style. One merges into another.

“At the moment, however, we have a lame horse.

“We know that it has a lot of performance in it, but it is not happy that someone wants to ride it and the way of riding style does not suit him either.

“It still has its own head, which sometimes runs the risk of throwing you off.

“We still have to get used to each other and develop it so that it becomes fast and tame.”

Over the Australian Grand Prix weekend, Hamilton revealed that the seating position within the W14 is one of the main areas in which he is struggling with the 2023 Mercedes.

“Our cockpit is too close to the front,” the seven-time World Champion explained.

“When you’re driving, you feel like you’re sitting on the front wheels which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you’re driving a car”.