Brundle: Mercedes clearly ‘not the force they were’


Sky F1’s Martin Brundle concedes that Mercedes is clearly not the force it once was during its dominant era in F1, emphasizing that 2024 will be a pivotal year for the Brackley squad.

Mercedes, once the undisputed powerhouse of the sport, found itself for the second season in succession trailing far behind Red Bull, with no single victory to show for its efforts in 2023.

This stark contrast to their eight-consecutive Constructors' Championship triumphs between 2014 and 2021 highlights a worrying trend for the German juggernaut.

The team’s regression is rooted in a combination of factors, but Brundle suggests that the departure from the team of key personnel has eroded Mercedes' once-impregnable technical prowess.

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“I think there’s no doubt about it, Mercedes quite clearly are not the force they were,” Brundle wrote in a column for Sky F1.

“Because they didn’t get the 2022 car right and they didn’t fix it for 2023.

“And there has been a lot of personnel movement because they’re obviously very attractive people from the era of total domination that they had.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. 05.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Price / XPB Images

“You see it in other sports, where a group of people seemingly just couldn’t lose, and then all of a sudden, they can’t win.

“It’s really odd, and all it needs is a couple or three pieces of the jigsaw puzzle changing one way or the other.

“It’s a mighty team,” Brundle concluded. “But they’ve got to align their stars again, and 2024 is a big year for Mercedes.”

Mercedes now faces an uphill battle to reclaim its former glory.

And as Brundle asserts, the 2024 season becomes a pivotal moment indeed for the team, as they must adapt their strategies, address their shortcomings, and find the spark that once propelled them to unparalleled success.

However, Mercedes technical director James Allison remains a firm believer in the former championship winning outfit’s ability to restore its former lustre and take the challenge to Red Bull next season.

“Considering where the car we launched [was], P2 was the absolute upper bound of what the team could achieve and we did a good job of getting there,” Allison told Sky F1.

“That does actually feel surprisingly good, albeit slightly in conflict with our desire to be, unequivocally, the best team.

“But we have lots of assets – the team itself is full of very strong engineers, an operation that will be the envy of many. Notwithstanding a few mistakes that we made here and there during the year!

“And a driver line-up that I think all teams would look at with an envious eye. We’ve got, in one of our drivers, arguably the most successful person who’s ever sat behind the wheel of a racing car [Lewis Hamilton] and, in the other one, a very, very promising younger man in George Russell.

“So yeah, we’re a very fortunate team. We need to make that good fortune count next year, and hopefully take it one better than P2.”

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