George Russell says it’s “impossible” to predict that Mercedes will be back in the fight for the title with Red Bull in 2024.
While Red Bull has totally dominated in the ‘ground effect’ era that kicked off last season, Mercedes has struggled to recapture the glory of its own dominance between 2014 and 2021.
Team boss Toto Wolff, however, is inspired by the big development steps made this year by Aston Martin and McLaren.
“From where we are, we just need a step like McLaren and Aston Martin have achieved in one go,” he said. “Not a two-tenths upgrade but a five-tenths upgrade to get back into the game.
“So yes, I think it’s possible.”
But while it may be possible, team driver Russell admits it’s actually “impossible” to expect such a step even with a totally new car for 2024.
“It’s impossible to really predict anything,” the British driver is quoted as saying by the Dutch magazine Formule 1.
“Nobody saw it coming that Aston Martin would make such a big leap over the winter, and no one expected that McLaren would suddenly be the second or third fastest car.
“With some good aerodynamic development and testing time in the wind tunnel, a team like Williams can suddenly take big steps forward too. So the most important thing is that we continue to look at where we can improve.
“Of course, with all the talent in our team, the goal is to be able to compete for the title again next season,” Russell, who will remain Lewis Hamilton’s teammate for at least the next two years, continued.
“But we are not going to say with hand on heart that we will absolutely achieve that, because we simply don’t know what the others can do.”