Mercedes F1 action plan agreed after critical factory meeting

Mercedes has agreed on a recovery action plan it believes is necessary to get back to the top of Formula 1, says George Russell.

After a disappointing performance at the season opener in Bahrain, Mercedes said it had not made the progress it had expected with its new W14 and had to rethink its plans.

Now it has emerged that the team’s senior management, drivers and engineering staff, were involved in an intense meeting on Tuesday after the Bahrain race to deal with his situation.

Speaking ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Russell said the meeting provided an honest assessment of his situation as the team determined the necessary short, medium and long-term steps.

“We all got together and had really good honest and open conversations,” Russell explained. “A lot of questions have been answered about how we got into this position in the first place.

“Furthermore, what are we going to do in the short term, and in the medium term, to get out of this? What path do we want to be on?

“These changes are already in place, to set us on the path that we believe will lead us back to victory.”

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, is interviewed after qualifying

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

While Russell didn’t elaborate on the specifics of Mercedes’ plans, he suggested a broader shift in direction of the concept was on the table rather than focused efforts on refining what it already has.

“We know that a change of concept is not without risks,” he said. “But I think we all feel like we have enough knowledge and information now to say we weren’t on track and the goals we set over the winter n weren’t the right ones. We need to change lanes as soon as possible.

“These decisions have already been made. And we have already started working on it, probably since Tuesday last week. How quickly that can be brought to the car, how quickly that translates to performance is another question.

too conservative

Russell suggested that one of the takeaways from the meeting was that Mercedes had been too conservative with the design of its 2023 car when it came to taking porpoising risks into account.

“When you look at the W13, we were clearly too aggressive with the car design and the rebounds,” he said. “That was our big limit.

“Now, 12 months later, we wanted to be in a position where we didn’t experience any of that, and we’ve probably moved past the opposite direction: too much compromised performance, too much downforce for the lack of rebound.

“We learned that the changes that the FIA ​​put in place over the winter have probably solved the majority of our problems.

“Having said that, we can probably recoup some of that lost performance by being too conservative. Is it the second we’re looking for compared to Red Bull? No it’s not. Do we think we’re on the right track with our philosophy Probably not either.

Russell also suggested that Mercedes may have been sucked into their zeropod concept due to their victory at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, which gave them too much confidence that the design idea could work.

“Maybe Brazil took us down the wrong path a bit, because we felt like we were improving as a team, we were going in the right direction,” he explained.

“It also requires analysis, because we have improved throughout the last year: there are no two ways to achieve this. And especially towards the end of the year, we really thought that we were sort of onto something and the W14 was probably a more extreme version of the car we had at the end of last year.

“But clearly others went in different directions. We went further in that direction, and it wasn’t the right one.

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