Mercedes "potentially" has wind sensitivity issues like Williams

George Russell believes Mercedes is “potentially in the same boat” as Williams with a wind sensitivity issue on its 2021 Formula 1 car that hurt its performance in Bahrain.

Mercedes "potentially" has wind sensitivity issues like Williams

In its push to create more downforce and reduce the drag on its FW43B car for 2021, Williams opted for an aggressive design approach that causes its performance to dip in windy conditions.

Williams driver Russell struggled with the gusty conditions during both pre-season testing and the opening grand prix of the year in Bahrain, meaning he could only finish the race in 14th place.

Russell felt the result was the “maximum we have expected” given the conditions, which he felt made for a “worst-case scenario” for Williams in Bahrain.

He compared the team’s struggles to that of Mercedes, which grappled with an unstable rear end on its W12 car throughout testing and could only narrowly win the race ahead of Red Bull.

“Something as substantial as that would require a complete re-design, which obviously we’ve not done,” Russell explained. “It’s what we’ve got, it’s what a lot of teams have got. Time will tell, but I believe that potentially Mercedes are in the same boat.

“They probably struggled this weekend more than you’ll see them struggle at races in the near future. Red Bull, and the likes of Alfa Romeo, were more competitive relative to the field than we’ll see in races to come.

“There were very windy conditions today. 50 km/h winds, it’s very open, very exposed. And when you’re driving around at 300 km/h, 50 km/h wind makes a difference. You can imagine at 50 km/h, it’s with like gusts of 60, 70 km/h.”

Read Also:

Williams is planning to produce some upgrades for the FW43B car in a bid to remedy some of the wind sensitivity issue, feeling that a better understanding of the philosophy will also help with future car designs.

Russell is still yet to score any F1 points while racing for Williams, but was more hopeful of the team’s prospects for next weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

“It’s very different to Bahrain, so you’ve got two ends of the spectrum,” Russell said of Imola. “Bahrain, you’ve got a lot of slow-speed corners, very exposed, generally very windy. Imola is high speed corners, the angle of those corners are less. There are more 90 degree corners as opposed to 180 degree corners.

“It is very enclosed with all the trees and the buildings around. So we’re going to extremes really. [I’m] not necessarily saying Imola is in the top end, but it’s probably in the top half [of tracks for Williams], let’s say.”

shares
comments

Related video

The beer and curry secret of F1's last non-points race

Previous article

The beer and curry secret of F1's last non-points race

Next article

Alpine "scared" itself in Bahrain with hot-weather struggles

Alpine "scared" itself in Bahrain with hot-weather struggles
Load comments
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Prime

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship.

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021