Why Red Bull and McLaren are scared of Mercedes

Mercedes are open to introducing a third new concept to try and defeat Red Bull amid another difficult season.

Red Bull and McLaren both suspect that Mercedes will return with a bang in 2024, following the Silver Arrows’ lacklustre 2023 campaign.

This season has been another frustrating one for Mercedes, who changed the entire concept of their car at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Whilst this solved some of their issues which arose in 2022, it didn’t result in a huge performance improvement.

Instead, they still find themselves comfortably behind Red Bull, whilst they’ve arguably been overtaken by both McLaren and Ferrari when it comes to the pecking order.

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Despite this, the Germans do find themselves second in the Constructors’ Championship with six races remaining, but just 20 points ahead of Ferrari.

Mercedes are desperate to return to the front and dethrone Red Bull, who sealed the title recently at the Japanese Grand Prix.

To do so, the Brackley-based team are open to changing their concept for a third time, something Lewis Hamilton is seemingly keen for.

The usually dominant side have had to watch on largely whilst the likes of McLaren have made remarkable progress, something Mercedes just can’t seem to do no matter what they introduce to the W14.

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Nevertheless, McLaren boss Andrea Stella predicts that Mercedes will “jump back quite strongly” next season, given that he believes the Silver Arrows have identified the reasoning behind their current struggles.

“We don’t know whether we are developing faster than other teams. And above all, we don’t know whether we are developing faster than Red Bull,” Stella said.

“And let’s not forget that Mercedes, I think they realised what they need to work on. And I suspect they’re going to jump back quite strongly.

“There are no factual elements at this stage to say this is the pecking order we’ll see next year. I think things can evolve.” 

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner shares a very similar view to Stella and is certain that Mercedes will “be looking to fight back” next year.

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Horner is confident that Mercedes boss and rival Toto Wolff will be “plotting” the side’s comeback, something which could reignite their feud.

“For me, sport is about rivalry. It’s great to have rivalry. There has to be a respect, but sport isn’t sport without rivalry,” Horner told Sky Sports.

“Obviously we haven’t seen much of him the last couple of years but I’m sure he’s plotting. I’m sure he’s got something that they’re working on.

“They’re a great team. They are a big team. They have got great drivers. They’ll be looking to fight back.”