George Russell has failed to rule out that Mercedes could copy designs from Red Bull in a bid to close the gap for next season. Mercedes struggled again at the Italian Grand Prix with Russell unable to keep up with the pace of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
Afterwards he said: “We’ve got to keep on developing this car. Next season will be an evolution of this and I think now, we do have a totally clear direction of how to develop.” Russell was then pushed on his remarks, with the Mercedes star asked if the team would be looking at the Red Bull and Ferrari at all ahead of next season.
He responded: “I think nothing’s off the table. For sure we have obviously a pretty unique design with the side pods. It’s not off the cards that we will continue with that design.
“But it’s equally not off the cards that we will totally change philosophy. But ultimately if we have the wide side pods or the narrow side pods, that isn’t the performance differentiator, there’s more to it.”
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Earlier this season, Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott suggested the team were considering taking inspiration from other teams designs. Elliott explained: “I think we’d be silly not to have a level of humility that you think you’ve potentially got it wrong and you go and look at what everybody else has done.
“That’s not just the Red Bull concept, that’s looking at all the concepts up and down the grid and saying, ‘What looks interesting and why?'”
He added: “We’ll go and look and say, ‘What do we think the Red Bull bodywork does and why does it do that?’ The same for all the other cars up and down the grid.”