George Russell says Mercedes won’t take away any firm conclusions one way or the other from the performance of its updated W14 in Monaco.

On Thursday, Mercedes unveiled in the Principality its long-awaited upgraded car that features a revised front suspension, a new floor and a move away from the team’s zero-sidepod design to a more conventional profile of the all-important lateral elements.

Mercedes says the purpose of the new aero and mechanical package is to provide a more stable platform for its drivers, one that will establish a new baseline from which to develop the car.

Team boss Toto Wolff has already warned that the changes aren’t a “silver bullet” for Mercedes, and Russell confirmed that the team is keeping its expectations in check in Monaco.

“We’re not going to really read anything into the performance that the new updates show this weekend,” said the Briton.

“There are always outliers in teams who overperform around a track like Monaco, and teams who underperform around Monaco. But ultimately, we don’t design a car to be at its peak in Monaco.

“You look at some teams in the past like Ferrari in the last 10 years, they’ve always been very strong here.

“So we just need to get through the weekend and take a review once we get to Barcelona and go from there.”

On paper, Monaco, with its tight and twisty layout that leaves no margin for error, is perhaps not the ideal venue to put a new package to the test.

But Russell is confident that the potential step up in performance provided by the changes outweighs the risks linked to the street circuit’s unique traits.

“I think you always need to go into a circuit like this with a degree of respect, and you need to build up to it,” he said.

“But I trust in the team. And I don’t think there’s going to be anything that’s scary with regard to this new update, that totally throws us off-piste.

“So as I said, we will treat this weekend as a bit of a sort of one-of-a-kind, and then we evaluate again in Barcelona. But I can’t imagine there’ll be anything that will necessarily hold us back.

“And to be honest, I’m glad that we are sort of proceeding with the update this weekend because you always want to put as much performance on the car as possible.

“And it would have been a demoralising weekend for all of us had we known we’ve got a bit of performance on the table just sitting there in the factory.”


However, lessons derived from this weekend’s running, regardless of the outcome, are likely to be relatively limited.

“I don’t think you’ll learn a lot at all from a race weekend like this,” Russell said. “So whatever we take away from this weekend, we’ll take with a pinch of salt, and go into Barcelona with a clean slate.

“Because Monaco is very challenging. I think everybody struggled last year with these new cars, the ride is exceptionally poor, compared to the 13-inch [tyre] era of cars.

“So as I said, it’s not necessarily risky, we just wanted to get cracking with the development. It was obviously always intended for Imola last week.

“We’re not just going to sit here on performance and not use it. So yeah, perhaps [it’s] bold. But it was always the case to run this package in Monaco.”

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