Helmut Marko sends ‘financial limits’ warning to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton finished 50 seconds behind Max Verstappen at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Bahrain Grand Prix was business as usual for Red Bull, who locked out the front row in qualifying before going on to achieve a one-two in the race.

While many expected Mercedes and Ferrari to be scrapping it out of the podium places, it was actually the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso that finished the race in P3.

Ferrari were engaged in battle with the Aston Martins while Mercedes never seemed to have such pace, with Alonso cruising past both Mercedes with relative ease.

By the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was 50 seconds behind his rival Max Verstappen, who won his first races of potentially many this season.

READ: Fernando Alonso explains why Jeddah and Melbourne will be key for Aston Martin

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that it is back to the drawing board for his team already, labelling their decision to stick with the zero sidepod approach this season as a mistake.

Red Bull’s chief advisor Helmut Marko has now delivered a critical blow to Mercedes, claiming that the team are already out of contention for the 2023 championship after only one race.

“The world championship title is out of reach for Mercedes,” he told RTL.

“[Its concept doesn’t have] one problem, but several. The solution didn’t come over the winter either.

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“You can’t design two or three cars. If a completely new car comes along now, it will be difficult from the financial limits. And the new car won’t be competitive from the start, you have to develop it further.

“They don’t have the three days of testing and the racing experience.”

READ: Mercedes reveal they have big upgrades ‘in the pipeline for the next races’

Toto Wolff has explained that Mercedes will not be developing two cars side-by-side but will instead decide on the best development pathway and focus all of their resources into it.

With Red Bull already seeming uncatchable by their rivals, it seems that the energy drink giants already have the title sewn up, unless Ferrari can overcome their early troubles to challenge Max Verstappen’s team.

Mercedes will also hope to impress Lewis Hamilton this season, with the Brit being rumoured to leave the team at the end of the season should their fortunes not improve.