Mercedes promise to fight back in 2023 title race despite Lewis Hamilton disappointment

The Silver Arrows have found themselves sitting in third place in the Constructors’ Championship, as they struggle for pace in the sport’s new era.

Mercedes has been open about its disappointing start to the 2023 season, as the team finds itself falling behind its rivals Red Bull for a second year running.

Lewis Hamilton admitted that it was “a bit of a shock” for the team when they realised that the changes made to the design during the off-season didn’t make the car competitive.

Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott agreed with Hamilton that the pace of the Mercedes was a “reality check” and a “disappointment for the whole team.”

Despite this blow to the team, ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Elliott has expressed optimism that the Silver Arrows have a route back into the 2023 title right.

READ: ‘What just happened?’: Safety Car driver opens up on Lewis Hamilton’s Abu Dhabi heartbreak

“We are starting to see some of the development come through already that is going to get us back into this championship fight,” Elliott said.  “And all we can do is just keep pushing – I’ve been really pleased to see the attitude in the team.”

Mercedes is among the teams hoping to see an improvement in Melbourne, as they bring updates to the car, but Elliott warned this will be a “small step” and team principal Toto Wolff has accepted these changes won’t be enough to put them on the front row.

Wolff has already hinted at “more radical changes” later in the season to the W14 if the upgrades at Melbourne don’t have a significant enough impact on their performance.

“In terms of the actual characteristics of the circuit, Australia is probably front-limited and more like Jeddah than Bahrain,” Elliott explained.

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“So, let’s hope that we can find another small step forward, get a bit more competitive, find the learning that is going to help us move forward in the long-term.”

READ: Toto Wolff says he ‘wouldn’t be ashamed’ to leave Mercedes

While Red Bull has had an impressive start, securing leads in both the Constructors’ Championship and the Drivers’ Standings, team principal Christian Horner isn’t resting on his laurels.

Horner fears that, with the penalty Red Bull has been handed impacting their 2023 development, when Mercedes and others address their performance problems, they will be fighting to take the title from the reigning world champions.

“It’s only the second year of these regulations so I’m expecting to see an awful lot of convergence throughout the course of the year, and the grid is going to tighten up,” Horner said.