Mercedes confident the right path for 2024 has been found

Jaden Diaz
10 Aug, 2023

Mike Elliot has been at the helm of some difficult years at Mercedes, having failed to produce a Championship-contending car since 2021. Many of the W13’s weaknesses remained for this season’s car, forcing the German outfit to make changes to their concept and hope for a resurgence in 2024.

The radical sidepod design that distinguished Mercedes at the start of these regulations has been scrapped in favour of a more standard design. Most of the field has followed the general silhouette established by Red Bull.

James Allison and Mike Elliot have been forced to start from scratch with the W14. However, the bigger changes planned at Brackley can only be implemented next season.

Wind tunnel allocations and budgetary limitations force teams to be selective with their development. McLaren and Aston Martin are proof that rapid progression is possible, but the necessary elements must be in place.

Simply put, Mercedes and Ferrari – Red Bull’s closest challengers – have been tackling more fundamental issues. This has largely prevented them from making huge gains.

In a recent press release, Mike Elliot outlined the team’s current position:

“Last year, we made gradual progress through the season. We got ourselves into a position where we had some confidence over the winter, hoping to start the season in a better place.

“To find out we weren’t was a kick in the teeth. But it’s been good to see the recovery path.

“If you look where we started and where we are now, compared to Aston and Ferrari, we have made good progress.

“Our aim is to win championships. Unfortunately, we are not in that position this year. But we want to be next year.

“We’ve got to get that balance right between getting all the learnings we can with our current car and trying to put most of our effort into next year’s car.”

Considering Red Bull’s unchallenged dominance in 2023, there is still hope that the pecking order in Formula 1 can change.

Whether Mercedes can assert themselves as title contenders is unclear, but in the words of Toto Wolff – Red Bull has a target on its back for next year.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang