Russell explains Mercedes reliability disaster: Can it be fixed?

The British driver had his race severely compromised by heating issues


George Russell says that poor cooling on his Mercedes car at the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix cost him four tenths per lap but revealed that the team will be able to solve it before the Saudi Arabian GP on March 9.

The British racer was initially running in second place, behind Max Verstappen, but he was then instructed to begin to lift and coast due to excess heating on his power unit which saw him go on to drop behind Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

He was almost caught by both Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton by the time they got to the chequered flag showing the extent of the problem for him, although he stressed it wasn’t actually related to track or air temperature.

“We didn’t show the cars true potential,” Russell said to media after the race. “We’ve had to turn the engine down and we’ve had to do extra lift and coasting, which had an effect on the tyres. So, it was sort of a downward spiral.”

Can Mercedes fix it before the next race?

Overheating has been a problem Mercedes used to have deal with before the new regulations, although since then they haven’t really had it as a problem on any of the usual parts of the car.

With the engine homologated for two years, meaning it isn’t allowed to be changed, that could be a worrying sign as it implies it is a chassis or aerodynamic problem although the British racer calmed those fears.

He admitted it was an issue related to the chassis, but that it was a small mistake with big consequences and it’s something they can quickly solve before they take to the hotter track of Jeddah for round two.

“It was just simply the body work was too tight,” Russell added. “We need to understand why we got that that wrong.

“It would only have been a small change and it probably wouldn’t have cost us hardly any lap time whatsoever, but we wouldn’t have faced these big problems. So maybe we were slightly too aggressive.”

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