Russell: Mercedes needed to make mistakes for return to F1 summit

Mercedes have struggled with the design of their Formula 1 car since the regulation changes in 2022

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George Russell believes the mistakes Mercedes have made in 2022 and 2023 were necessary to help them return to the top of Formula 1.

Since the sport introduced dramatically different regulations in 2022, Mercedes have struggled for results, winning only one race in two years and are over 200 points behind runaway leaders Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.

However, 2023 has seen some bright spots for Mercedes as Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton have secured five podiums, which have helped the team move into second in the constructors championship.

“Yeah, I think we’ve made some good gains this season,” said Russell to the media ahead of the 2023 Singapore GP.

“In all honesty, there’ll be a few more little things to come towards the end of the season, which will aid our learning into next season. 

“I think it’s clear we’ve made some mistakes ahead of the 2022 season and again over this winter, but [I am] confident that these mistakes are going to aid us and help us a lot in the future. 

“You need those setbacks and those errors to set you on the right path, and as a team, we [are] incredibly motivated to get back to the top.”

Mercedes George Russell during practice 2 at the 2023 Dutch GP | @MercedesAMGF1 Twitter

New track layout going to make racing more exciting

For F1’s 13th visit to Singapore, the circuit has been modified to improve overtaking opportunities, with four corners between turns 15-16 removed for a new straight set to begin after turn 14.

The tweaked layout will likely cut lap times by ten seconds whilst reducing the physical demands on the driver in what is one of the toughest races on the F1 calendar.

‘‘I think it’s going to make the race a bit more exciting,’’ said Russell. ‘‘I think Singapore is already a great circuit to drive, but it’s a little bit challenging to race on historically.

‘‘It has only really been turn five, which has been an overtaking opportunity. Whereas now, I hope maybe into the new turn 16, There’ll be another chance.

‘‘It’ll make it slightly easier physically for us because it was the longest race of the season in terms of time duration.

‘‘So I think the track will probably be nine seconds or so quicker this year. So a bit shorter on Sunday. But as I said, [it] should be better for the race.’’

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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