F1 expert claims Mercedes “clearly not the force they were” and face 'big year'

Mercedes are “clearly not the force they were” and face a “big year” in 2024, according to F1 expert Martin Brundle. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship,…

After enduring their first winless F1 campaign since 2011 last season, Mercedes are pinning their hopes of returning to the front of the grid on an all-new car concept for their W15 challenger. 

Mercedes have experienced an unprecedented run of poor competitiveness since new F1 regulations were introduced at the start of 2022, having got their car design wrong in back-to-back seasons. 

And Brundle believes many changes behind the scenes, including the loss of several key figures in recent years, has played its part in Mercedes’ current slump. 

“I think there's no doubt about it, Mercedes quite clearly are not the force they were, because they didn't get the 2022 car right and they didn't fix it for 2023,” Brundle said in a Sky F1 Q&A. 

“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.

“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, but they've got to align their stars again, and 2024 is a big year for Mercedes.” 

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 at a team photograph. Formula 1
(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and George Russell (GBR)…

Brundle was also asked who he thinks out of Lewis Hamilton or George Russell would be best placed to win a world championship, if Mercedes produce a car capable of taking the fight to Red Bull in the next two years. 

“I think they're so close, those two, if you look at the stats, but George had a couple of nightmare races this year. That's a very good question,” he responded. 

"It depends if Lewis maintains his current motivation, but it's so close to call. Lewis knows how to do that but George has got youth on his side. I don't know the answer to that, but I definitely wouldn't say, ‘oh, Lewis without a doubt, because he's already a seven-time champion.' That I would absolutely not say.

“Until George is in a championship winning position, we don't know if he's got the head to cope with it.” 

When asked if he thinks Hamilton will retire if the seven-time world champion’s struggles continue in 2024, Brundle replied: “I think if Lewis senses that eighth title is unachievable in a reasonable time frame, he'll be thinking of Plan B.” 

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