Pit lane start for George Russell after his W13 was fitted with a new PU

Michelle Foster
George Russell in the Mercedes garage. Red Bull Ring July 2022.

George Russell will start the Singapore Grand Prix from the pit lane after Mercedes fitted a complete new power unit to his W13.

Russell had a tough time in Saturday’s qualifying at the Marina Bay circuit, the driver failing to make it out of Q2 as he struggled for grip.

Qualifying down in 11th place, Mercedes made the call overnight to fit his W13 with a completely new power unit.

“All the PU components for George Russell have been replaced without the approval of the FIA technical delegate,” read the FIA report.

“This is not in accordance with Article 40.3 of the 2022 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

“Therefore car number 63 should now be required to start the race from the pit lane according to Article 40.9b of the 2022 Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

His W13 has a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K, energy store, control electronics and even a new exhaust system.

Mercedes revealed they made change having found a “newly discovered reliability issue”.

Russell faces a mammoth task scoring points at a track where it is notoriously difficult to overtake.

Speaking after qualifying, he conceded: “We are here to score points. And ultimately, this is a qualifying track.

“Fortunately, the degradation is looking pretty high [so it] could be a two-stop race, but it’s just a shame not to be out there now and fighting for where we deserve to fight which is probably top three.”

The 24-year-old is hoping that between a Safety Car and multiple pit-stops, Mercedes can work a strategy that elevates him up the order.

“There’s been a Safety Car every single time we’ve been here,” he said. “It will hopefully be a couple of pit-stops we need to try and do something different to our rivals, but it won’t be a straightforward race.”

His team-mate Lewis Hamilton will start P3, his best qualifying position of this season.

Russell starts the Singapore Grand Prix P4 in the Drivers’ Championship with 203 points, 16 behind Charles Leclerc.

The Mercedes driver has scored in all but one race this season, involved in the first-lap crash at the British Grand Prix. He has been in the top five in 15 of 16 races.