Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Red Bull are as dominant as his team was when the V6 hybrid turbo era began in 2014.
Mercedes became F1’s dominant force when the current V6 hybrid turbo power unit regulations were introduced in 2014. Over the first three years under the rules Mercedes won 51 races out of a possible 59.
Following yesterday’s race Lewis Hamilton likened Red Bull’s advantage to what he enjoyed in 2014. “I think we’ve had those years where we were as strong,” Wolff admitted.
However he said Red Bull’s achievement deserves to be appreciated. “It’s a meritocracy this sport. Even if it’s not great for the show that the same guys win all the time, it’s because they’ve done a good job and we haven’t.
“So we all hope for a good entertainment factor, and it’s our duty with all we have to catch up and fight these guys.”
Red Bull’s strong start to the season has raised concerns they may end the year undefeated. Wolff said people should talk F1 down.
“I remember hearing voices like that in 2014, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20. And what makes the sport so special that you need to work hard to win and you deserve it, as a matter of fact.
“Of course we will try to do everything in our powers to fight back and we will look at areas of weaknesses that they may have. But entertainment follows sport, and that’s maybe not good from the commercial side, but it is what makes Formula 1 so special.”
Mercedes has resolved to overhaul the design of its car in reaction to its disappointing start to 2023. Wolff said they saw signs in Jeddah that they are heading in the right direction.
“The direct competitor is very far away in terms of performance and that’s not something that’s going to be easy to catch,” he admitted. “But today we’ve seen that directionally with our development it’s heading into the way that we wanted it to head.
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