George Russell has voiced his “extremely confident” belief that Mercedes will rectify their performance inconsistencies and close the gap to Red Bull as they prepare for the F1 2024 season.
Mercedes is undergoing fundamental design changes to their 2024 challenger to address the issues that have plagued their W13 and W14 cars over the past two seasons.
At the Qatar Grand Prix, both George Russell and his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, qualified second and third, benefiting from penalties given to McLaren drivers.
However, they still faced a significant deficit, with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull dominating by half a second.
When asked about his confidence in Mercedes narrowing the performance gap to Red Bull, Russell responded optimistically, saying, “Yeah, I believe so.
“I think when we look at our car, we see a number of flaws in it.”
He elaborated, “We’ve made some really good findings recently with regards to the aero of the car and some of the bits and pieces on the car, which is looking very promising.
“But we can never promise what we’re going to deliver over the winter in terms of a result because it’s a relative game.”
Russell stressed that their focus is on continuous improvement and avoiding the mistakes of the past seasons.
He added, “I’m extremely confident, it might seem very confident, in the decision-making and the direction we’re heading in that we’ve made some really great learnings and we won’t trip up and make a mistake as we have done these past few seasons.”
Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, echoed Russell’s sentiments and expressed full faith in the Mercedes team’s efforts.
“I have 100% faith in the team back in the factory, they’re working away on it [next year’s car],” he affirmed.
While acknowledging the challenge presented by Red Bull, Hamilton emphasised the importance of focusing on their own progress and performance.
“I’m not necessarily so focused on necessarily closing that gap.
“It is going to be what it is.
“But by the time we get to the first race, hopefully, it is closed,” he added optimistically.
Max Verstappen, who is poised to secure his third consecutive world title after an exceptional season with 13 wins out of 16 races, was more reserved in his response to Red Bull’s progress for 2024.
When asked if he sees Red Bull making significant gains with their 2024 challenger, Verstappen teased, “Maybe.”
He continued, “We will find out next year, there’s no point talking about it right now.
“I’m just enjoying the moment and we keep pushing and working hard.”