George Russell believes Mercedes have a clearer idea of the direction they want to take for the F1 2024 season as a result of their struggles with the W14 car in 2023.
Having claimed a record eight consecutive Constructors’ titles between 2014 and 2021, Mercedes suffered a winless season in 2023, their first since 2011.
Despite pipping Ferrari to second place in the standings, Mercedes were restricted to just eight podium finishes this season with Russell recording just two third-place finishes in Spain and Abu Dhabi.
George Russell convinced W14 has shown Mercedes the way forward
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Having persevered with the divisive zero-pod car concept at the start of 2023, Mercedes decided to abandon the design after the first race in Bahrain with the team making only marginal progress in the months since a revised chassis was introduced in Monaco.
Although team-mate Lewis Hamilton is glad to see the back of the 2023 car, Russell believes the W14 has served an important purpose in terms of showing Mercedes where to take the 2024 chassis – and he is convinced the team will start next season in a stronger fashion than they did this year.
He told media including PlanetF1.com: “I think we’re taking a clean slate into next year’s car. I think that the positive is we’re not scratching our heads why we’re so far behind Red Bull.
“We see so many flaws with this car, which gives every single person back at the factory so much motivation and fire to chase after those problems and find those solutions, which we think will make a good step into next year.
“Of course, I expect Red Bull to make a step again, but I’ve got no doubt, come Bahrain, we’ll be in a stronger position than we were in Bahrain this year.”
Russell’s comments come after team boss Toto Wolff revealed Mercedes are pursuing yet another new concept for 2024, admitting the team cannot be certain that their new path will result in success.
He told media including PlanetF1.com: “We are changing the concept. We are completely moving away from how we laid out the chassis, the weight distribution, the airflow.
“Almost every component [is] being changed – because only by doing that, I think, we have a chance.
“We could get it wrong also. So between not gaining what we expect, catching up and making a big step and competing in the front, everything is possible.”
Following a painful Japanese Grand Prix in September, Hamilton warned Mercedes would require “the greatest six months of development ever” to stand any chance of fighting the dominant Red Bull team in 2024.