Mercedes “optimistic” of challenging Red Bull for 2024 F1 title

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Mercedes say they are optimistic of their chances of being able to challenge Red Bull for the 2024 world championship.

Last week Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc said he feared no team will catch the reigning world champions before new rules are introduced in 2026. Red Bull have won all bar one of the 21 grands prix held over the past 12 months.

However Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says the progress made by other teams shows they can target significant gains during the off-season. He used the example of McLaren who scored no points in the opening two weekends but now lie fifth in the standings with a pair of second place finishes.

“Our ambition is to be challenging for a championship next year,” said Shovlin in response to a question from RaceFans. “We’re optimistic that we can do that and if you look at the step that McLaren have made, it shows that you can make big steps.

“We’re still understanding a lot about these regulations. What we would say, though, is where we were with this car and in the constraints of the cost cap, we realised we’re not going to be able to shut down that gap to Red Bull this year. But our entire focus is on making sure we can challenge them next year.”

Red Bull ended Mercedes’ run of eight consecutive constructors’ championships successes in 2022. Max Verstappen broke the record for most wins in a season, taking 15. He has already won 11 times this year.

The two-times world champion is on course to win a third title in 2023 with a lead of 138 points. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said they must respect the job Red Bull have done but is also hopeful they can cut their rivals’ lead next year.

“I think variability and unpredictability is what makes the sport exciting,” said Wolff. “You want to look at the telly on Sunday and hope for a fight, and that’s not the case at the moment. It’s not happening, because one team with one driver is just doing a much better job than anybody else, and we need to acknowledge that.

“It’s up to us to find solutions that leapfrog us to a certain degree, because seven tenths is not something you find from one race to the other.

“But we’ve seen it with McLaren that one update basically changed the performance levels considerably and the same with Aston Martin over the winter. So it’s possible and it’s up to us to get us there.”

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Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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9 comments on “Mercedes “optimistic” of challenging Red Bull for 2024 F1 title”

  1. I also like to be that optimistic, but we’ll see. Hopefully anyway.

  2. Mercedes say they are optimistic of their chances of being able to challenge Red Bull for the 2024 world championship.

    Has Shovlin been drinking from the Ferrari water fountain?
    Much I’d like it to be true, I’m thinking not.

  3. It is the oposite from 2014 to 2020. Every year, at the end of the year, the others came closer and closer to Mercedes. They all started talking about challenging Mercedes the next year. And then race one was a big disappointment as Mercedes was miles ahead again. Why? Because they let them get closer and had all attention to next years car, while the rest was still figuring out this years car. And now THEY think RB isn’t doing the same?

    1. But merc isn’t getting closer to red bull atm, so maybe they’re focusing all resources in 2024; red bull back then were doing heavy in-season development and ended up being very competitive in the end of the season like you said, so it’s obvious they weren’t going all out on next year, they were trying to win races in current season too.

  4. So Shovlin’s optimism for his team is based on the fact other teams have improved more than Mercedes over this season (albeit with no impact on Red Bull’s total domination).
    Okay. There are a few flaws in that argument, I’d have thought…

    1. @david-br – Have to agree, with the limited knowledge of Merc strategy for the rest of this year and 2024, either way you look at it they will be behind. Rbr have all areas firing on 100%, all they are doing is adding performance, Mercs are still learning and hoping they have added performance. I would be more inclined to think that McLaren will be further ahead than Mercs next year as they really have made the best improvements this year and can see them being closer , I’d even say it could be Rbr McLaren/Ferrari , then Merc for next season but would wager McLaren getting more points on race day. Next season should be good but would expect nothing more than Rbr dominance with the occasional blip

  5. Barring rule changes specifically aimed at RBR, it’s hard to envision any team overtaking them before 2026, given the current restrictions in place (budget cap, CFD and wind tunnel allocations). Otherwise, one could argue that those private dinners and gatherings that included strangely Toto Wolff and Stefano Domenicali have likely borne fruit for Mercedes.

    1. Don’t forget the “enormous” cost of the penalty Red Bull was given for breaking the budget rules, which according to Horner – so it must be true – would cost them “between a quarter and half second” a lap over the course of the 2023 season.

      So given that, it’s actually quite likely that Mercedes can challenge them next season, especially “if you look at the step that McLaren have made”. Because… well, both Mercedes and McLaren start with an M. Or something like that.

      On a more serious note, maybe one day someone at Ferrari and Mercedes will ask who thought it was a good idea to agree to an engine freeze… and then immediately offer that guy ‘exciting new career opportunities’ outside of their teams.

      1. MichaelN
        It was Binotto ! That was an utter failure the way Domenicali signed the hybrid rules. Ferrari could have waved the veto and saved the sport in both occasions but they didn’t.

        As the casual fan I’m, I’ve been on rant ever since Ferrari were in favour of the engine freeze and at some point Binotto was bragging about how Ferrari made concessions on the PU side to help both RBR and the VW group with the engine freeze and the simplified 2026 PU architecture respectively.

        What amazes the most is these people’s ability to secure top jobs after every massive failure… Domenicali, Binotto, Martin Whitmarsh, Cyril Abiteboul…

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