Sidepods not the Mercedes "magic" insists Russell


George Russell denies that abandoning its zero-sidepod philosophy is the reason for Mercedes Barcelona performance.

As expected, when introduced at Monaco, the very nature of the circuit made it impossible to determine the true worth of Mercedes much-anticipated upgrade package.

However, at Barcelona the package was given full rein to prove its significance, and with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell filling the bottom steps of the podium, having left the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari for dead, many believe the German team has finally turned a corner.

Following its lack of pace in the opening races, Mercedes finally opted to return to the drawing board and basically start again, with a move away from its controversial zero-sidepod philosophy being top of the agenda.

However, George Russell, while delighted with the upgrade, has played down the significance of the sidepods at a time engineers claim that the top surfaces of a car contribute only 40% of its downforce levels, the majority of which come from the underfloor.

"It's not the sidepods what make the difference," Russell told Sky Sports in the aftermath of Sunday's race. "It may be a factor, but the magic isn't in the sidepods.

"We brought that design to the car to kind of rule it out, the sidepods," he added. "The magic was done underneath the car, on the floor. That's the same for every single team."

Such is the Briton's confidence, that he claimed Max Verstappen would still have won on Sunday even if Red Bull had suddenly adopted a zero-sidepod philosophy for the RB19.

"I'm sure Red Bull could put no sidepods on their car and still be the quickest," he said. "It's a little bit more complex than that," he admitted, "but nevertheless, I'm really happy with the work the team have done and the validation that the steps we've made are steps in the right direction."

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Published: 10/06/2023
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