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George Russell

Russell sends Mercedes' rivals warning over crucial F1 rule change

George Russell has given an encouraging update on where Mercedes stands with the 2026 power unit rules.

Russell Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell has declared that Mercedes is in a "really great place" with its 2026 power unit ahead of the rules revamp. 

The turbo hybrid units are to undergo their biggest changes since adoption in 2014 for '26, with the MGU-H being ditched with beefed-up electrical systems set to boost power for drivers with the chassis also set to undergo major work. 

The new rules are set to be finalised in the coming weeks, with work already underway on the power units, with Audi and Honda entering works programmes with Ford also set to come in as technical partner to Red Bull's in-house powertrains division.

The promise of Mercedes' acing the 2026 regulations and the doubts around the Red Bull project has been a carrot Toto Wolff has dangled in front of Max Verstappen as he pursues the world champion for a potential seat. 

Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner claimed that RBPT had taken nearly 220 staff from Mercedes High-Performance Powertrains, although RacingNews365 understands this figure to mainly be made of short-term contractors who had already left HPP before joining RBPT. 

Given all of Mercedes' success in the turbo hybrid era, Russell feels the team is ideally placed for the new rules.

"I mean ordinarily 2026 seems like a long time away but in the world of Formula 1 it's going to be here tomorrow and the team are feeling really confident for this era," Russell told media including RacingNews365.

"I think the experience the team has had, the success in 2014 with the new powertrain, and then obviously the time in Formula E, the work that was done with the Hypercar, there are a lot of individuals within HPP who have got so much experience with this future technology.

"So I think that leaves us in a really great place to have a great engine, and the work Petronas are doing on the fuel as well is looking really strong.

"So on the engine side, I think we're feeling very confident for that era."

Horner has claimed that RBPT is facing a 70-year deficit to Ferrari when it comes to producing power units and engines, with the Scuderia's power unit technical director Enrico Gualtiero revealing how some of the preparations are going.

"For sure, 2024 will be the year in which we will have to put everything together," he said.

"We are going on in the development of each different and every component. So it's getting intense, it's getting enjoyable and it's getting more and more challenging because there is a huge challenge in front of us and in front, I think, of every power unit manufacturer.

"This year will be the one in which everything has to be put together to come into 2025 to go over the validation period."

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