‘Nothing is on the table’ for 2023 Mercedes design, says Russell

Mercedes’ W13 turned heads at the start of this season with its slim, striking sidepods and radical design, but according to George Russell the team is exploring plenty of options for its 2023 car.

Russell, who continued his top-five streak with a podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend, has scored 203 points this season – just 23 less than Valtteri Bottas scored in his final season for Mercedes – but neither he nor his teammate Lewis Hamilton have won a race in 2022.

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Asked if Mercedes are going to change their radical design for 2023, Russell said: “I don’t think anything is on the table. Of course we have a pretty unique design with the sidepods. It’s not Outside the maps we’re going to continue with this design, but it’s not outside the cars either that we’re going to completely change our philosophy.

“But at the end of the day, whether we have the wide pontoons or the narrow pontoons that don’t make a difference in terms of performance, there’s more to it.”

Slim sidepods are a defining feature of the W13 – although Russell said the sidepods weren’t the performance differentiator

Mercedes did not expect to perform well at low downforce, high speed circuits such as Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, and although Russell said the team knew the underlying reasons, he explained that he there was no “overnight” solution.

“I think we understand exactly why at circuits like Zandvoort and Budapest why we were competitive, and we understand why at circuits like this. [Monza] and Spa we were not competitive. This does not mean that we can solve problems overnight.

“But we have to keep developing this car and next year will be sort of an evolution of that and I think now we have a totally clear direction on how to develop the car.”

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Russell scored a podium at Monza

Russell added: “[Monza] It was by far not our best race of the season, the car didn’t feel good, we lost a lot of performance since FP1 on Friday and we don’t really know why, but I think the most important thing was Ferrari’s pace surprised us.

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“We expected Max and the Red Bulls to be competitive and exactly how they were this weekend and how they were at Spa, but Ferrari took us by surprise which is why we couldn’t really fight for this P2.”

The defending constructors’ champions are just 35 points behind Ferrari in the constructors’ standings, with both teams hoping to do better on the streets of Marina Bay as the Singapore Grand Prix returns on September 30.

About Chris C. Hairston

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