Russell warns Mercedes issues could last all season

Sam Cooper
George Russell explains during an interview. Bahrain March 2022

Mercedes driver George Russell gestures as he explains something during an interview. Bahrain March 2022

George Russell said he does not know if the issues hampering Mercedes will be fixed by next weekend or the summer break.

Mercedes have looked off the pace since the first testing session in Barcelona and their performance in Bahrain qualifying showed it was not just sandbagging as some suspected.

Russell managed a fourth-place finish while his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, made it onto the podium come race day, but that was only after both Red Bulls had been forced to retire.

On the issues stopping the Mercedes car from competing, Russell was unsure when they would be fixed.

“We hope it will be as soon as possible,” said Russell.

“But there is no reason why it may not continue the whole year.”

Like other teams, Mercedes have particularly struggled with porpoising and Russell said the team took confidence from the fact their rivals had found solutions to overcome the problem, which could help them solve it in their own way.

“It’s promising to see that other cars have had the same issue and they managed to solve it which means there is a solution there,” Russell said.

“But we are struggling to find it. It would have been brilliant if we solved it in testing where we had so much running, but we truly just don’t know how long it will take.”

As well as the porpoising issues, one of the notable conclusions from the opening round of the 2022 calendar in Bahrain was the difference in performance from Ferrari-powered cars as opposed to Mercedes.

Ferrari earned a one-two, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen took P5 while Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo impressed in qualifying before finishing P6.

 

Meanwhile Mercedes struggled throughout the weekend and McLaren, who use Mercedes engines, finished in P14 and P15 with Daniel Ricciardo failing to get out of Q1.

Russell’s boss, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, was optimistic and said he did not believe there was a “significant” difference between the Ferrari and Mercedes power unit.

“I don’t think there is a significant difference between the power units of the different manufacturers, although Ferrari’s progress is obvious,” he said.

Wolff also admitted his engineers will “take a chainsaw” to the rear wing before this weekend’s Saudi Arabian GP in an attempt to tackle drag.

 

Russell reveals more worrying signs at Mercedes

George Russell has revealed more worrying signs for Mercedes.