George Russell issues warning about Mercedes upgrades

Mercedes are expected to have a new sidepod design at the 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

George Russell has given an honest verdict on Mercedes’ imminent new concept, which will be introduced at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The wait for Mercedes to introduce their new concept is almost over, with the Germans set to have a new look when the cars next hit the track next weekend.

Many are expecting the Silver Arrows’ huge upgrades to make a dent in Red Bull’s advantage; however, Russell has warned that things won’t magically “transform”.

The general expectation is that the Brackley-based team will be stronger in Imola but it’s relatively unknown just how competitive they’ll be, with Russell noting that several teams are “bringing upgrades”.

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“There is a lot of expectation around Imola but everyone is moving forwards and bringing upgrades,” Russell told the F1 Nation podcast.

“I’d like to think it can transform things, but this is F1. It’s never that straightforward.

“I have driven with the new upgrades in the sim, but the sim is not reality. Don’t expect the world to change at Imola. Red Bull are still going to be the quickest. At the end of the day, I don’t care where we are, we’re chasing them and we want to beat them.”

Even if the new concept doesn’t result in the gap to Red Bull being reduced, Mercedes will be hopeful that they’ll at least have the correct path to work on, something they haven’t had since the start of 2022.

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Both the W13 and the W14 have been inconsistent, with last weekend’s Miami Grand Prix having been further proof of that.

Russell and Lewis Hamilton both struggled in free practice and in qualifying in particular, with Hamilton having been eliminated in Q2.

However, in the race, Russell was able to find “the sweet spot”, something which saw him demonstrate really strong race pace.

Russell ended up finishing fourth in Miami whilst Hamilton recovered to sixth, highlighting the W14’s striking performance issues when it comes to qualifying.

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“When you hit it in the sweet spot, everything comes alive,” Russell added.

“We didn’t do that in qualifying and we paid the price. Today was more of a normal performance but we just need to find more overall lap time.

“It was a good race, Fernando is doing a really great job at the moment. Hopefully at Imola we can be a bit closer to them but Red Bull are a long way ahead and we need to sort that out, catch them up quick.”