George Russell has laid out the mistakes Mercedes made when
designing its 2023 car, and is confident that it will not “stumble
at the first hurdle” next season. Mercedes elected to maintain its
zero sidepod concept for the W14 that had proved troublesome on the
W13, limiting the team to just one win all season, in Sao Paulo
which was Russell’s first in F1. It slipped to third in the
standings as Lewis Hamilton went winless for the first season in
his career, with the team set to record a first winless season of
its own since 2011 if it cannot win the Las Vegas or Abu Dhabi
Grands Prix. The Brackley squad dumped the sidepod design for the
Monaco Grand Prix, reverting to a concept which was intended to set
it on the right path for development to catch Red Bull. A further
floor upgrade in the United States proved effective with
back-to-back P2 finishes (on the road, at least), before a poor Sao
Paulo GP followed in which the car was slow and in the case of
Russell, unreliable. However, despite the setbacks of 2023, Russell
is confident that two years of learnings and mistakes will combine
to make the W15 a much better package. Russell backs Mercedes “12
months on, we have a further 12 months of information, and we’ve
managed to implement some of those changes we want for 2024 in
certain tests this year,” Russell told media including
RacingNews365. “The work we’re putting into 2024 is a lot more
thorough with our assessment of every single decision, and the car
was nowhere near where we wanted it to be last season. “We felt we
needed a lot of change, and perhaps we rushed a couple of decisions
without thoroughly testing in the simulator and going through the
potential consequences. “We were just trying so many different
things, and it was more quantity over quality testing, and this
year, we’ve really nailed down on the direction we want to go.
“We’ve tripled-checked our processes with the direction we’ve taken
and I’m confident 12 months later, with our two years of learnings,
that we’re not going to be caught out by anything. “That doesn’t
mean we’re going to have the fastest car, but it just means I don’t
think we are going to stumble at the first hurdle.”

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