Cover Image for “The underdogs will prevail in the opening races”: Mercedes starlet George Russell shares his thoughts on the 2022 F1 season

“The underdogs will prevail in the opening races”: Mercedes starlet George Russell shares his thoughts on the 2022 F1 season

Somin Bhattacharjee
|Sat Jan 08 2022

Mercedes driver George Russell predicts a very uncertain beginning to the 2022 F1 season following major regulation changes. 

Russell finally made his long awaited move to Mercedes, replacing Valtteri Bottas who moves to Alfa Romeo after 5 seasons with the Silver Arrows. His journey with the team starts as a new era in F1 embarks at the start of the 2022 season.

The Brit said he is excited to see how drivers and teams adapt to the new generation of F1 cars. The changes introduced were done so in order to bring the field closer and produce more ‘racing action’.

Russell expects no particular team to dominate proceedings when F1 action returns in March. He feels that the it’s going to take a few races to get a grasp of which team has a better mechanical package. In particular, he expects the midfield teams to take an early stride in the opening stages of the season.

“I’m really excited to see the new cars and what they offer for everyone,” said Russell to Autosport.

“That’s really exciting, but also I’m looking forward to being part of the development of a car that will be progressing drastically throughout a season. Working with the designers, working on the simulator, putting lots of work in to progress.”

“I’m sure it won’t necessarily be who is quickest at race one will win. And I’m sure there will be some interesting designs out there and might be some underdogs who prevail in the opening tests or races.”

“It’s whoever develops the fastest, whoever develops the best and to build those foundations for the coming years. That’s a side I’m really excited for, from an engineering perspective.” the former Williams driver added.

Also read: George Russell talks about ’emotionally brutal’ F1 moments that made him stronger

George Russell expects a busier schedule now that he’s with Mercedes

Williams is one of the biggest names in F1 history. However for the last few years, the Wantage based outfit have struggled on the wrong end of the field. Russell, who spent all 3 years of his F1 career so far with them, expects a busier schedule now that he’s with a ‘top team’.

“I think this year will be the most intense of my life in terms of the racing schedule. But also from an off-track and marketing side of things,” said the 23-year old.

“Going from Williams, where I’ve been pretty fortunate in a way, not having to do so many marketing activities just because of the nature of the position we’ve been in, to Mercedes, where we’ve got tons of sponsors and lots of commitments drivers need to attend to.”

“This will be also off the back of COVID. With all the drivers and all the teams, it will all ramp up because the partners have missed out on 18 months’ worth of activity. From a racing side and off-track side, it will be incredibly intense.”

“I will hit the ground running mid-to-end of January, put everything on the table and go for it.” Russell concluded.

Also read: Renault set a timeline for returning to the top of the podium with Alpine

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