Ex-Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t think Mercedes will take the fight to Red Bull in 2024, with him believing that if “anyone can do it”, it’ll be Ferrari.
Mercedes finished second in the Constructors’ Championship last season and finished narrowly ahead of Ferrari, following a late-season scrap.
Despite beating the Italians being a positive for the Silver Arrows, they still found themselves a staggering 490 points behind Red Bull.
Red Bull were almost unbeatable in 2023, with the Austrians having won all but one race, as a result of Carlos Sainz winning the Singapore Grand Prix.
The general expectation is for the reigning Constructors Champions’ dominance to continue this year and likely 2025 as well, because of their performance advantage.
They also have the secret weapon that is Max Verstappen, who has now claimed three Drivers’ Championships in a row.
Red Bull’s dominance hasn’t come easily for them, as pointed out by Ecclestone, with the 93-year-old noting how they had to “patiently” endure Mercedes’ superior period whilst trying to make themselves better.
“They patiently endured the Mercedes victories of previous years, replacing each weak link one by one,” Ecclestone told the German magazine Sport Bild.
“They now have the best team, the best design, the best car, the best driver. They did an excellent job.”
Ecclestone doesn’t see anything drastically changing in 2024 because of how strong Red Bull currently are, although he has given a more in-depth reason as to why he thinks Ferrari are more likely to compete with them than Mercedes.
The ex-F1 supremo believes George Russell isn’t “as good as he thought he was” and that Lewis Hamilton has now “slacked off a bit”, making defeating Red Bull an impossible task.
Despite not favouring Mercedes’ chances, Ecclestone still thinks they should’ve challenged Red Bull more last year.
“The trend is your friend’ doesn’t just apply to the stock market,” Ecclestone smiled. “But if anyone can do it, it will be Ferrari. Not Mercedes, and not just because of the car.
“Lewis Hamilton slacked off a bit, and George Russell wasn’t as good as he thought he was, Ecclestone noted. “Still, they shouldn’t have lost as dramatically as they did.”