Mercedes Need “Five-Tenths Upgrade” to Challenge Red Bull, Says Toto Wolff

George Russell believes it’s “impossible” to forecast Mercedes’ challenge against Red Bull for the 2024 title.

Red Bull has clearly led the way in the ‘ground effect’ era since its inception last season, leaving Mercedes grappling to regain the supremacy they held from 2014 to 2021.

Yet, Toto Wolff, the team principal, draws encouragement from the notable progress displayed by both Aston Martin and McLaren this year.

“From where we are, we just need a step like McLaren and Aston Martin have achieved in one go,” he commented. “Not a two-tenths upgrade but a five-tenths upgrade to get back into the game.

“So yes, I think it’s possible.”

However, while such a resurgence might be plausible, Russell concedes it’s genuinely “impossible” to bank on such an improvement, even with an entirely revamped car for 2024.

“It’s impossible to really predict anything,” the British racer mentioned, as reported by the Dutch outlet Formule 1.

“Nobody saw it coming that Aston Martin would make such a big leap over the winter, and no one expected that McLaren would suddenly be the second or third fastest car.

“With some good aerodynamic development and testing time in the wind tunnel, a team like Williams can suddenly take big steps forward too. So the most important thing is that we continue to look at where we can improve.

“Of course, with all the talent in our team, the goal is to be able to compete for the title again next season,” added Russell, set to partner Lewis Hamilton for a further two seasons at least.

“But we are not going to say with hand on heart that we will absolutely achieve that, because we simply don’t know what the others can do.”