Russell reveals if Mercedes will change the design of the 2023 car – FormulaNerds.com

Mercedes driver George Russell has indicated the design path the team could take for 2023. He also says the team is starting to understand the troublesome W13.

George Russell celebrates his OP3 finish at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix (Image credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media: LAT Images)

The British driver could not have predicted when he signed for Mercedes last season that his 2022 season would see Mercedes so far off the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari. Although the W13 was the third fastest car on the grid, the British driver took pole position and scored seven podiums, including a second place at Zandvoort.

The W13 features one of the most unique and radical designs seen in F1 for many years. Her ultra-thin pontoons were blamed for excessive early-season porpoising. Both pilots are suffering badly in Baku. While performance has improved in racing, the W13 is yet to claim a win in 2022.

Speaking to formula1.com, Russell said the team is open to both changing its current design or completely altering its philosophy. Confirming that “nothing is on the table”, he reiterated the belief that sidepod design was not the sole cause of the W13’s pacing issues, hinting that another “differentiator” is to blame:

“I don’t think anything is on the table. Of course, we have a pretty unique design with the sidepods. It’s no coincidence that we’ll continue with this design, but it’s also no coincidence that we will 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.”

Understanding the W13

Russell said the team now has a good understanding of why the W13 excels on high downforce circuits. Citing Zandvoort and Budapest as examples, the W13 was on pace with Red Bull and Ferrari in those races, with Russell finishing second and third respectively. The team also now understands why low downforce and high speed circuits continue to see the car struggle to compete with title contenders. Russell admitted, “That doesn’t mean we can solve problems overnight.”

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At the Italian Grand Prix, Russell said Ferrari’s pace “took us by surprise”. W13 couldn’t keep Verstappen’s Red Bull behind. Once past, the Dutchman then dominated on his way to victory. Russell couldn’t challenge Verstappen, nor Charles Leclerc, second. Despite this, Russell still finished P3, a solid result considering W13’s struggles:

“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.”

“[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.

“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.”

Feature Image Credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media: LAT Images

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