Mercedes: A car 'fit for the job' key to Russell winning F1 title


Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin is in no doubt that George Russell can one day win the F1 World Championship, provided Mercedes supplies the talented Briton with "a car that is fit for the job".

Supported by Mercedes since 2017. Russell served his apprenticeship in F1 with Williams for three seasons before he was promoted to a race seat with the Brackley squad in 2022.

Russell concluded his maiden campaign with the team – marked by the vagaries of Mercedes' first ground-effect car – fourth in the Driver's standings, 35 points ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton and with his first F1 win under his belt, a feat achieved at the end of the season in Brazil.

Although Mercedes is fielding a better car this season that underwent a change of aero concept at Monaco, the team's W14 - like its rivals' designs - is still no match for Red Bull's dominant RB19.

But Hamilton has picked up the pace relative to his young teammate, the seven-time world champion scoring consecutive podiums in Spain and in Canada and generally outpacing Russell on race day in recent races.

But as far as Shovlin is concerned, Russell remains a pivotal element in Mercedes' future.

"He's a hugely professional driver who's working very, very hard. And he’s one of those that you'd say no doubt he'll win a championship at some point, providing we can give him a car that's fit for that job," said the Mercedes engineer, speaking earlier this summer.

"And we're obviously working very hard to achieve that. But he's very technical. He adapts well to different conditions. All good drivers get better over time, they're focused on looking for every opportunity to improve.


"And when he got pole here [in Hungary] last year it was a surprise for us, because we didn't have a good Friday.

"We did make some changes to the car, but he did a fantastic job in qualifying to get that. So, he's super focused and no doubt that he'll be part of much success for the team in the future."

In the interim, Mercedes will continue to fight with its direct rivals – Ferrari, Aston Martin and now also McLaren – for the privilege of finishing second to Red Bull in the Constructors' championship.

It's a tight four-way battle however, that ebbs and flows between the group's protagonists. Shovlin explained why the running order varies so much from race to race.

"There'll be track specific elements," he explained. "We look quite good in Barcelona on max downforce… But the fact is, you know, you can't design your car for every single circuit.

"So, you’re seeing the nature of the corner speed, whether ride is a big factor can come into it.

"Whether it's an overheating circuit, or one where it's tricky to get the tyres to work. Whether the balance is more oversteery, all of those things will change the relative performance.

"And then on top of that, you've got a pretty aggressive development race going on and you can see that with the steps that Williams made, [and] that McLaren made. Where people are bringing a lot of performance and the phasing of that is starting to juggle the order a bit."

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