Mercedes "scepticism" is far from ideal for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will hope for a better 2023 season (Image: Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will hope for a better 2023 season (Image: Getty Images)

Mercedes technology chief Mike Elliott has admitted his team has to "maintain scepticism" about their chances of success in the coming season.

The Silver Arrows suffered, by their usually lofty standards, an awful year in 2022. They managed only one victory, in the penultimate race of the season in Brazil, having spent much of the year closing the significant car performance gap to Ferrari and runaway champions Red Bull.

George Russell was the man who got that win – his maiden victory in Formula 1. While he will have been delighted with that, the young Brit would have expected much more from his first season with the team which had won the previous eight constructors' titles.

And if he would have been frustrated, then consider how Lewis Hamilton felt. The seven-time champion had never before gone through an F1 season without winning at least one race, but that remarkable run came to an end last year.

Technical director Elliott is one of those tasked with making sure the Brits have a more competitive car to race in the coming campaign. Speaking about where Mercedes are at in that quest, he appeared very keen not to get anyone's hopes up with a perhaps slightly underwhelming take on the situation.

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"I think the interesting thing is how we move forward from here," he said in an official season review video released by Mercedes. In the clip, Elliott was speaking alongside powertrains managing director Hywel Thomas and team principal Toto Wolff.

Mercedes "scepticism" is far from ideal for Lewis Hamilton and George RussellMike Elliott says Mercedes need to "maintain scepticism" about their 2023 chances (Getty Images)

"I think we've got to maintain that scepticism and be honest with ourselves that we were behind at the end of the year. And while I think that we've made good progress through the year and I am really pleased with the culture I have seen and the attitude, we will only see the return on that next year."

It remains to be seen how competitive their 2023 car will be compared to their rivals, and that will only start to become apparent at pre-season testing in February. But Mercedes say the W14 will have a new "DNA" compared to its predecessor, giving fans hope the change will be a positive one.

Wolff pledged: "What we can promise is that all of us here in the two factories, with the support of Germany, we are going to push flat out to have the best possible result and the same kind of scrutiny on our performance will help us going forward as human beings, as managers and also as a team."

Daniel Moxon

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation