George Russell’s worrying W15 assessment as ‘bouncing’ returns to the Mercedes W15

Michelle Foster
Mercedes driver George Russell looking back and down.

Mercedes driver George Russell.

There’s good and bad news for Mercedes ahead of the season-opener in Bahrain as George Russell says while the W15 is “more of a race car”, bouncing is back, it’s lacking downforce and it’s just “not quick enough”.

Mercedes overhauled their Formula 1 car during the off-season, the Brackley squad putting an innovative W15 on the track with its legality wire front wing and adjustable front suspension.

But it is only a step in the right direction.

Mercedes ‘caught up with a bit of bouncing’ in testing

Additional reporting Thomas Maher

Although the team had a solid pre-season, Lewis Hamilton called the car a “work in progress” and revealed that it was “still stiff and bumpy”.

And bump it did, most notably at the downhill Turn 8 as the Mercedes drivers braked for the tight right-hander during testing.

Russell admitted the bouncing, which blighted Mercedes’ 2022 season and put them on the back foot in the first year of F1’s ground-effect aerodynamic cars, is back.

“I would say this year’s car is a totally different race car,” he told the media, including

“To the point that the things we learned from last year in the way we were setting the car up, we will need to approach it differently this year. So, there’s a lot to learn about this.

“It feels much closer to how a race car should feel. But the one area that we need to continue to work on is probably the bouncing that we’re seeing. We got caught up with a bit of bouncing last week.

“We were pushing the car really aggressively. But as I said, we’re dealing with a totally different beast this year, whereas 2022, 2023 they were both cut from the same cloth.” recommends

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George Russell: Right now the W15 is not quick enough

Bouncing is just one area that Mercedes need to work on with the Briton saying the car is lacking in downforce and outright performance.

It, however, is not all doom and gloom.

“Yeah, 100 per cent from what we’ve seen so far,” he said. “Obviously, it’s one circuit, we’ve only had one and a half days each.

“Maybe we’ll have a surprise when we go to Jeddah next week but I’m confident that this is much more… it feels more like a race car. And I think we can now afford to be more aggressive with the set-up, we can be more aggressive with the mapping of the car and where we put the downforce on.

“It felt like in the last two years, everything we did was a bit of a plaster that never solved the underlying issue that the car faced. And I think for the first time in two years, we feel like the numbers are backing that up.

“We saw all of the issues we had when we went back through the data W14 and the W13 had. And we’re definitely much more confident this is more of a race car.

“But there’s only one thing that matters is how quickly it goes around the track, and right now it’s not quick enough.”

He added: “I’m confident that the development slope of this car should be greater than we’ve seen with the past to two cars, because we’ve got a better platform. But it is just outright performance.

“You know, the cars feeling nice to drive it feeling good to drive. But we’re just lacking downforce.”

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