Ex-Jaguar technical director Gary Anderson believes Mercedes need to copy Red Bull for next season, should the Silver Arrows decide to “start again” with the design of their car.
The new aerodynamic regulations are getting no better for Mercedes, who continue to struggle to get the maximum performance out of their package.
Even after scrapping their ‘zero-sidepod’ philosophy, the Silver Arrows have failed to make any real substantial progress towards catching Red Bull.
This has seen them arguably fall behind McLaren and Ferrari in the pecking order, as proven last weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton finished fifth at Suzuka whilst George Russell claimed seventh, with the Brackley-based team having been considerably slower than Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari all weekend.
Since introducing significant upgrades similar to Red Bull’s design, McLaren have rocketed towards the frontrunners, with the Woking-based team having claimed five podiums in the last seven races.
Ferrari too have managed to get the most out of their package recently, resulting in Carlos Sainz becoming the first non-Red Bull winner of the season in Singapore.
At Mercedes, the side just look “lost”, to the extent that they’ve openly admitted that their design concept could be changed for a third time for 2024.
Time is quickly running out for Mercedes to achieve any significant success from the current era of the sport, with the new power unit regulations being just two seasons away.
If the Silver Arrows fail to challenge Red Bull next season, then their best bet might be to just focus on the new engine regulations in 2026.
Anderson think their best option is to become “Red Bull-alikes”, a route which has been taken by McLaren, Aston Martin and Haas.
“McLaren, meanwhile, have shifted away from their previous concept in this area to one that essentially looks like the Red Bull, but then you also need to understand the design philosophy to get the best from it,” Anderson wrote in his column for The Telegraph.
“At a track like Suzuka, which is a real test of a car, McLaren qualified and finished second and third to Verstappen.
“The visual concept is something that makes the car work, but you have to do all the other non-visual stuff with it too, like understanding the detail on the under-floor.
“McLaren seem to understand that well now after their woeful start. Becoming Red Bull-alikes, if you will, has taken them (and other teams) forward. This is the main area where Mercedes are lost.
“If they are going to start again with their car, they need to begin in this area.
“Yet even taking all that into consideration, they are not getting the best out of their car for what it is currently, which is where Ferrari have improved.”