George Russell was forced to abort his test session as his car stopped on the track on the second day of the 2023 F1 pre-season test in Bahrain. Mercedes have confirmed that the Briton’s car had a hydraulics problem that caused the stoppage.
Confirming the issue with the car, the team’s statement said:
“Confirmed, hydraulic failure caused George’s stoppage. Highly unlikely the car will be back out today.”
George Russell could not complete more than 26 laps in his test session, but the more worrying concern is if the Mercedes engine has a reliability issue. On the previous day, another Mercedes-powered car that brought out the red flags was Felipe Drugovich’s Aston Martin, which was stopped due to an electronics issue. After the Briton’s stoppage, the issue with his car was investigated, but George was unable to continue the session.
George Russell believes Mercedes had a productive day of testing despite his stoppage
George Russell feels Mercedes are yet to unlock the potential of the W14. Despite his short test session, the Briton believes they have gathered important data. His teammate Lewis Hamilton was able to log 72 laps in the morning session and saw a smooth, uninterrupted session. According to Mercedes, the team is still trying to figure out the overall balance of their car.
Commenting on his second day of pre-season testing, the Briton said:
“Unfortunately, we had an hydraulic issue this afternoon which cost us some running. Even though we didn’t complete our full programme, we uncovered some interesting things in the data throughout the day. That is a positive and we will analyse these overnight with the aim of finding lap time. We haven’t unlocked everything yet in the W14, and everyone is working hard to do so and maximise our final day of testing tomorrow.”
While the W14 is an evolved and improved version of the W13, it still features the ‘zero side-pod’ design. With limited pre-season testing, losing 90 minutes of track time is a loss of valuable time that could’ve been used to understand the car.
It remains to be seen how the team will tackle the hydraulics issue that George Russell faced during the session. Given that there is a race weekend straight after the test, problems that need a factory solution become harder to tackle, whereas issues that can be fixed on track are easier to deal with. This is a dilemma all teams face in the sport.