Lawrence EdmondsonF1 Editor3 minutes of reading
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff likened the challenge of catching Red Bull to climbing Mount Everest, with his team finishing second in the points table this year with fewer points than the world champions.
Red Bull won the constructors’ title in dominant fashion this year, winning all but one of the season’s 22 races, while Max Verstappen recorded 19 victories in a single year to take the drivers’ crown.
The Dutchman has won the last three drivers’ titles — extending his advantage over his nearest rival each time — and has made Red Bull Mercedes the dominant force in Formula One since the introduction of new technical regulations in 2022.
„Red Bull started these regulations with a huge advantage in 2022 and managed to maintain it,” Wolff said. „We have to give a lot of credit to their achievement on the engineering side and as a driver, beating them under the current regulations is against the odds, that’s clear.”
Mercedes finished second in the Constructors’ Championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday. But this year it scored just 409 points to Red Bull’s 860.
Work on next year’s cars has been underway for months, with Red Bull set to ignore development of this year’s dominant RB19 to work on the upcoming RB20, while Mercedes has opted to make significant changes to its car concept in the hope of unlocking a bigger performance. Gain in winter.
„We’ve seen an update unlock a second lap with McLaren, and ultimately with the AlphaTauri and Aston Martin coming on strong in the winter, there’s a key to unlocking dramatically more performance,” Wolff said.
„I think we’re making this honest assessment that this car will never be good enough to fight for the championship, and we’ve decided in the spring that we have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something new. The year. But Mount Everest is ahead of us.”
Asked if he was optimistic about 2024 based on the progress he’s seen at the Mercedes factory, Wolff added: „I’ve never felt so optimistic about anything in my life. It’s pathetic, but it’s protected me in managing my expectations and pushing harder, because I don’t think it’s good enough. .
„That’s why I’m sitting here today with the bitter feeling that we won P2 but lost P1. So we’re changing the concept, completely moving away from how we set up the chassis, the weight distribution, the ventilation. There’s literally every element that’s changed, because that’s the only way we have a chance. has
„We can get it wrong, so everything is possible between not getting what we expect, taking a big step and competing at the front. If you ask me today, there’s always doubt, but that’s the mentality. A team that never gives up and pushes us forward.”
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