Russell warns Mercedes upgrade at Imola 'won't change the world'

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. 07.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images
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George Russell has warned that the all-important upgrade package that Mercedes is bringing to Imola this week "won't change the world" for the Brackley squad.

On the back of the team's underperformance at the start of the 2023 season, and after last year's struggles, Mercedes' engineers have put together a comprehensive upgrade plan that will likely move the team's W14 away from its current zero-sidepod aero design.

Team boss Toto Wolff has suggested that Mercedes' W14 will follow an incremental development after next weekend's all-important Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, in a bid to gradually dial in performance.

Russell has pushed back however on expectations, but the Briton is confident that the changes will be "a step in the right direction".

"Imola is a new weekend, we'll have some new bits on the car," Russell said in Miami recently.

"Hopefully that's positive. It's not going to change the world for us in the short term but hopefully it's a step in the right direction.

"I think we can't get carried away ourselves, we need to do the talking on the track.

"We need to see how the upgrades perform when we get there. Fingers crossed they're brilliant, but we'll only know that on Friday morning."

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In Florida, Wolff emphasized that Mercedes' main target with its new update will be to establish a new stable baseline from the team can develop its car.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin confirmed that the former championship winning outfit isn't "just looking to bring lap time" to its car at Imola.

"We do hope that it is quicker, we hope that it's better in terms of qualifying and race pace," he said.

"The key thing though is that we are not just looking to bring a lap time update, we are looking to head off in a different development direction. One that we think gives us a better chance in the long term of being able to challenge for race wins and world championships.

"The Imola package are the first steps in that direction. We are hoping to bring other updates later in the year."

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