1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill believes Mercedes should give up on 2023 and start focusing on 2024, given how dominant Red Bull are this season.
Unless something truly unbelievable happens, Red Bull are going to comfortably win the Constructors’ Championship this season, with the side having so far won all seven races this year.
The Austrians already boast a remarkable 135-point advantage over Mercedes, a gap which is more likely to increase than decrease next weekend at the Canadian Grand Prix.
It’s not just the Constructors’ Championship which Red Bull appear to have wrapped up, as Max Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship by 53 points.
The reigning World Champion has been imperious this season, with him alone having claimed five wins from the seven completed races.
With that in mind, Hill does perhaps have a point.
Mercedes aren’t going to win either championship this season, so why continue to focus on 2023?
The main reason why is because it’s still vital that they finish as high in the standings as possible, in a bid to be rewarded with as much money as possible.
With Aston Martin and Ferrari continuing to introduce upgrades, Mercedes would likely slip from second to fourth if their focus was to completely change.
Whilst they might already be planning ahead for 2024 and a title challenge, their 2023 season can’t be forgotten about, with any improvements made this season likely to have a positive impact on next year’s car.
Mercedes introducing the new concept is another sign that they aren’t giving up on 2023 just yet, as a result of wanting to return to winnings ways.
Despite this, Hill wonders if Mercedes should consider focusing on 2024, when their chances of winning will be significantly greater.
“Ironically, the better Mercedes do the less scope they’ve got for the following year,” Hill told the Sky Sports F1 podcast.
“You kind of wonder whether Mercedes ought to be thinking about doing really badly between now and the end of the year.
“I think when you’ve got the budget and you can spend it but you can’t because you did so well the previous season, then it kind of makes you wonder whether you ought to do really badly.
“If you’re not going to win this year, you want to win next year.”