George Russell is not as pessimistic as his team mate about Mercedes’ chances of catching up to Red Bull before 2026.Lewis Hamilton suggested that Red Bull, who have won every race in 2023 so far, may not be caught until the next major regulations changes in 2026.
However, Russell believes that recent examples of teams making large strides forward in performance – including Red Bull themselves – show that there’s a possibility the world champions can be caught over the next two seasons.
“When you look at the turn of form that Aston Martin had over last winter, the turn of form that McLaren has had, that definitely gives optimism that it can happen,” Russell told select media including RaceFans.
“Obviously, Red Bull are going to continue to improve. It’s going to be difficult for sure. But we saw Red Bull catch Mercedes in the ‘Mercedes era’ as well, in 2021, and that was unforeseen. As well as 2020 for Mercedes was a really dominant year, yet in 2021 Red Bull started with the quickest car.”
Russell says the phenomenon of one team dominating the sport has is “definitely part of the nature of Formula 1”, but pointed out a key advantage that Red Bull have forged in the current era.
“Probably a factor of their huge success has been their reliability as well,” he explained.
“Historically in the past when you look at how many cars used to break down in the nineties or the eighties, it was a hell of a lot more than what you see today, for example. I think probably for about 25 years now, there’s always been a team that has dominated during a certain period. It is definitely a bit of a shame.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
Russell believes Red Bull’s dominance is unfortunately masking a competitive battle between their nearest rivals behind them.
“You can’t take it away from Red Bull – they’re obviously doing an amazing job and you need to give them credit for that,” he said.
“But it’s a shame because the fight for second at the moment between us, McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari is actually really exciting. So I don’t know how you achieve that in the sport, but that’s the goal, for sure.”
But with Red Bull having spent many years with Mercedes frustratingly out of reach before catching them during the 2021 season, Russell says his team are working to do the same to the champions.
“We’ll be pushing for that, but we’re not going to put any huge expectations upon next year,” he said.
“We’re just taking it race-by-race, making sure we’ve got all of the right information to make the best decisions possible between now and the Bahrain test next year.”
Bringing the F1 news from the source
RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.
By contributing 1 per month or 12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.
We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:
- Azerbaijan GP defeat was key to record-equalling run of wins – Verstappen
- “Too early to say” if podium signals return to form for Aston Martin – Alonso
- Verstappen makes history with unbeaten hat-track in first home races
- Perez is ‘doing his job and will be our driver in 2024’, Horner insists
- Ferrari had the “sixth or seventh fastest car” at Zandvoort – Sainz