Hamilton Russell united in ending tough Mercedes journey
By Ian Parkes
Monday 13th March, 2023 - 8:30am
Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has reaffirmed Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are “on board” in driving the team back to the front of the F1 grid.
Mercedes endured a difficult season-opening weekend in Bahrain earlier this month, with the British drivers comfortably adrift of Red Bull on both one-lap and race pace.
The team’s persistence with its aerodynamic philosophy from last year has spilled over onto this campaign’s W14, leading to it becoming quickly apparent fundamental changes are required to address the matter.
Shovlin has already made clear that radical changes will be made on the car in the coming weeks in a bid to propel it back into a race-winning position.
Shovlin declared “the team working together” to address the issues was the biggest plus point from the Bahrain weekend, with seven-time F1 champion Hamilton and team-mate Russell leading the charge.
“It’s a very difficult start to the year, and after the season we had in 2022, we certainly didn’t wish for this sort of challenging start,” said Shovlin.
“But everyone’s been very quick to acknowledge that problem. We know that we have a tough journey ahead of us but we are committed to improving the car, to try and get it back to the front.
“The drivers are very much on board with that, and they have been working very well together to try and help us develop and improve the car.”
Mercedes ‘honest and humble’ about challenge
It is now a question of how quickly Mercedes can react and add the required development to the car if it is to close the gap.
In Bahrain, Russell and Hamilton were over six-tenths of a second slower than polesitter Max Verstappen in his Red Bull, leading to the pair lining up sixth and seventh on the grid.
By the end of the 57-lap race, Hamilton and Russell finished fifth and seventh respectively, with the former 51 seconds adrift of Verstappen.
Beyond the next two races in Saudi Arabia and Australia, there is a window of opportunity for Mercedes, with a four-week gap prior to the fourth race of the campaign in Azerbaijan.
Making a vow for the future, Shovlin added: “It’s nice just to see how everyone is very honest about the challenge that is ahead of us.
“And very humble about where we are and what we need to do to move forward and committed to finding solutions because we are not happy with our current performance.
“We know that’s not good enough, but we will be doing everything we can to improve it.”
Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section
Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]