George Russell has sent a warning to reigning Constructors’ Champions Red Bull, with the 24-year-old having said that Mercedes are targeting the Austrians in 2023.
The former Williams driver’s comments come on the back of a woeful 2022 campaign, which saw the usually imperious Germans slump to third in the standings, whilst Red Bull eased to their first title since 2013.
It brought a sudden end to Mercedes’ eight-year reign, with 2022 being the first season of the hybrid era that the Brackley-based team hasn’t won the title in.
Mercedes knew very early in the season that they weren’t in title contention, with the W13 having been a horrific car for Russell and Lewis Hamilton to drive.
The porpoising phenomena cost Mercedes dearly, with the team having been forced to raise the W13’s ride height, due to the aggressiveness of the bouncing issue.
Russell has since revealed that all the team’s work before 2022 “went back in the bin”, with the team having had no choice but to start from “zero again” during the season.
“As Toto [Wolff] said, we spent months and months trying to solve porpoising,” Russell told GPFans.
“To be honest, it probably cost us eight months because of all the development we did before the season.
“It kind of went back in the bin and we started from zero again.”
Mercedes did, of course, regain some dignity towards the end of 2022, with Russell having claimed a win and a pole position.
The side still lost their crown, though, something which would’ve infuriated them.
Their goal for 2023 appears to simply be to return to the front of the field, with Russell not wanting to have to endure starting behind Haas and Alfa Romeo anymore.
“Our main focus is on Red Bull because they are the team to beat,” added Russell.
“It’s probably not a comparison that people draw often, but if you look at the start of the year, we were actually qualifying and finishing behind Haas and Alfa Romeo.
“At some races, Alfa Romeo was faster than us, like at Imola. Valtteri [Bottas] was chasing me down, back in P9.
“Haas was out-qualifying us, and obviously, they don’t have quite the development that we probably do.
“Obviously, Ferrari and Red Bull probably develop at a similar rate to us but we closed that gap substantially, and that’s the exciting thing [for 2023].”