RACE DEBRIEF

    George Russell will take a fresh Mercedes power unit for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, after investigations revealed he had suffered a gear drive failure during the season-opener at the Red Bull Ring.

    The Williams driver was in contention for a point on an afternoon of high attrition, having impressed in qualifying to narrowly miss out on a Q2 appearance, but ended his race when the teams had concerns about the fuel pressure.

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    The unit returned to Mercedes’ base at Brixworth for system tests. They determined the root cause of the issue with investigations so far indicating that the problem was specific to this PU, rather than a fundamental issue.

    As a result, Russell will run a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H for round two of the campaign, increasing the possibility the Briton will be hit with grid penalties later in the year – though this remains unclear as the final calendar has yet to be determined.

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    Russell was in contention for points on Sunday before his power unit issue put him out of the race

    For this weekend, though, Russell will escape grid penalties and can hope to build on his strong start to the campaign, where Williams appeared to show they have significantly closed the gap to the rest of the pack and could potentially challenge those teams immediately in front.

    Russell will, however, only have two practice sessions to dial the car in this weekend at the Red Bull Ring, with reserve driver Jack Aitken using his car for his first appearance in a FP1 on Friday.

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