George Russell claimed that an alternative car concept could be considered if their current design fails to deliver the desired performance. Speaking to Sportskeeda at the FIA drivers' press conference, the Mercedes driver downplayed the porpoising of their car but felt that it needed to improve nonetheless.
Considering the back pain Lewis Hamilton suffered in Baku and the back and chest pains George Russell complained about over the Imola GP weekend, the 24-year-old was asked by Sportskeeda if it was time for Mercedes to consider an alternate concept. He said:
“I think we’ve got to stay open-minded about everything and go about things logically, analytically, and I think nothing’s off the table at this stage. And ultimately, we’re just trying to deliver a car that is the fastest over a lap.”
George Russell claimed that the only problem with their car was their one-lap pace, but a change in design and/or concept had not been written off as of yet. Despite discussions in the GPDA about bouncing being a serious concern for drivers' health, he downplayed the porpoising phenomenon in their car.
Explaining the issues with their car, Russell said:
“I mean, the porpoising has not been that bad this weekend. We’ve barely had any issues, it’s just the ride and running very close to the ground to get as much performance as possible. But as I said, at the moment, we’re struggling to unlock that. So, as I said, open-minded and nothing’s off the table.”
George Russell believes low ride height to be the reason behind the bottoming on the Mercedes
The young Briton believes their car's performance was not bad in Baku, but running the car so close to the ground at a lower ride height caused the bottoming. Revealing that there won’t be any updates for the Canadian GP, George Russell believes that maybe Mercedes might be able to bring in an update for the British GP.
When asked about how he managed to drive in Baku, where the car seemed challenging to drive, Russell said:
“I think the car has been feeling OK to drive, to be honest. The balance is good. Just the challenge is just the bottoming, to be honest, I think it doesn’t matter what boat you’re in either, you’ve got the porpoising and you’re hitting the ground. And if you don’t have porpoising, you’re running the car millimetres to the ground, and you’re bottoming out. I think, yeah, feeling it on the back at the moment.”
Speaking about finding performance with their current car, the Mercedes driver said:
“Nevertheless, as I said, we’ve got to keep on working hard to find more performance and understand what we need to do to unlock that. And yeah, I don’t think we’ll have any major updates or anything to try in Canada, but maybe for Silverstone, we’ll have a better idea.”
George Russell has had a relentless streak of finishing in the top five since the season commenced, making him the only driver on the grid to have that statistic this season. Despite his stellar performances, extracting performance from the car has become an uphill for Mercedes. However, thanks to Ferrari's double DNF at the Azerbaijan GP, the German team is only 38 points behind the Italian team.
It will be interesting to see how Mercedes fares in the Canadian GP on June 19, 2022.