George Russell has revealed the moment that the penny dropped that Mercedes were still facing their issues from the previous year at the start of the 2023 Formula 1 season.
The Silver Arrows faced challenges in 2022 with the W13, resulting in them finishing in third place of the Constructors’ Championship after losing out to Ferrari in the battle for second.
Things did not look to have greatly improved at the beginning of the 2023 campaign, and Russell admits that this realisation hit the team when looking at their initial lap times.
Russell: Lap times weren’t translating
When asked about the ‘penny-dropping’ moment that the W14 had carried over problems from the previous season, Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com: “I think the first time you realise is when you look at the lap times.
“You drive around the track, the car can sometimes feel great, but the lap times aren’t representing the feeling and vice versa.
“I’m sure there’s, even for championship-winning cars, they may not also feel perfect. We’re just driving around at a slightly higher pace.
“So I think it was when we saw that the lap times weren’t translating into what we expected.”
Changes needed quickly
With some of their competitors – such as Aston Martin – having made a clear step forwards, Russell admits that Mercedes knew they would have to make some rapid changes.
“Aston Martin clearly made a big jump, and we hadn’t made the jump that we were expecting and needed to make changes quick,” the Briton explained.
“So it was literally straight after the very first test in Bahrain.
“We were already planning towards the changes that are being implemented, in Monaco and [in Spain].”