Russell got 'straight to business' with homelike Mercedes

George Russell says he has settled in and gotten “straight to business” with Mercedes, the Briton feeling instantly at home in the Brackley squad’s familiar environment.

Russell, whose career in motorsport has been supported by the German manufacturer since 2017, was called to the mothership after a three-year apprenticeship in Formula 1 with Williams.

But his many hours spent at Brackley in the past with the team’s personnel and his remarkable one-off with the championship winning outfit in 2020 at Sakhir as well as his post-season test in Abu Dhabi with Mercedes have made for a swift and seamless integration.

“It’s a bit of a strange feeling because I spent so much time there when I was in Formula 3 and Formula 2 as a junior driver, in a way it feels like returning home to people I’ve known for such a long time,” Russell said in an in-house interview – his first as a Mercedes driver – with his new team.

“Because I spent so much time with the team prior to joining Williams in F1 as a junior driver, I feel like I know everybody so well, so we’re just straight to business on the important bits and bobs.

“To understand the new car, to understand the challenges and to try and prepare as best as possible for the season ahead.”

After a well-deserved holiday at the end of the 2021 season, Russell kick-started in earnest his physical preparations which included training in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.

Back in the UK, he was introduced to his 2022 crews, many of which he already knew, and got down to work in the simulator where he experienced Mercedes’ all-new Silver Arrow W13.

“First impressions of W13 have been interesting,” Russell explained.

“It’s a very different car to the previous era. There’s still a huge amount of improvements to be made to bring everything together to make it as nice as possible to drive.

“We’re learning so much day-by-day whether it’s in the windtunnel or on the simulator.

“It’s going to be a year of development. Everybody wants to go to the first race and have the fastest car possible but what will be more important is understanding what your limitations are and how you’re going to improve from those limitations to build yourself the best foundation possible.”

  • Video: Russell clocks in at Mercedes to meet the troops

Russell’s promotion to Mercedes coincides with F1’s regulations changes, but the 23-year-old sees the convergence of the two events as a positive.

“Starting from a completely fresh sheet of paper is beneficial for all,” he added;

“Whereas if I stayed with Williams for this season, there’s always things in the back of your mind that you learned in the previous era of cars that will always subconsciously into the future.

“Whereas if you’re truly starting from a fresh slate, it can only be beneficial this year.”

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