Mercedes’ 2023 campaign has suffered one final massive blow, as George Russell had an accident during Tuesday’s Pirelli tyre test and young driver test at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
It’s become a tradition in F1 for a tyre and young driver test to take part in Abu Dhabi after the season finale, which took place last weekend and was won by Max Verstappen, unsurprisingly.
There was some delight for Mercedes last Sunday, as Russell’s podium finish was enough to secure second in the Constructors’ Championship.
Had Russell finished just a place lower, then Ferrari would’ve claimed the spot; instead, the Italians missed out by three points.
Mercedes claiming P2 doesn’t hide the fact that it’s been another miserable season for them, which became even worse during the morning session of the test on Tuesday.
The test was actually delayed by 25 minutes due to waiting for the medical helicopter; however, Mercedes probably wish now that it’d stayed away.
Not long into the session, Russell had an accident at Turn 6, with Mercedes having since confirmed that it was caused by a component failure.
Which component failed in particular is unknown; however, it has brought the test to an end for the No. 63 W14.
As always happens during any session other than a race, a red flag was immediately flown so that Russell’s car could be recovered.
Russell’s car was seen later on back in the pits under a cover, with Mercedes now getting started on figuring out what happened.
The Silver Arrows did release a tweet to confirm that the King’s Lynn-born driver’s day was over but that, most importantly, he was OK.
“George’s day of testing in Abu Dhabi comes to an early end after an accident caused by a car failure,” Mercedes wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
“We have the car back and have already begun investigations into what caused the accident. Most importantly, George is completely OK.”
It was later reported by F1 journalist Chris Medland that Russell’s car was damaged, with the “front right corner” of his car taking most of the impact.
“On Russell’s crash earlier, something appeared to fail and it meant he went straight on at Turn 6,” Medland tweeted.
“Driver was fine but a fair bit of damage to the front right corner and wing/nose so it ended their running.”