Jenson Button has pinpointed Mercedes as the team most likely to take the fight to Red Bull and Max Verstappen in the F1 2024 season.
Mercedes won a record eight consecutive Constructors’ titles from the start of F1’s V6 hybrid era in 2014, but have been restricted to just a single race victory since the ground effect regulations were introduced at the start of 2022.
Lewis Hamilton, the most statistically successful driver in F1 history with seven World Championships and 103 victories to his name, remains without a win since the penultimate round of the 2021 campaign in Saudi Arabia.
Jenson Button tips Mercedes to take the fight to Red Bull
Verstappen, Hamilton’s 2021 title rival, has won 44 of the last 66 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning season, with the Red Bull driver setting a new record in 2023 by winning 19 of the 22 grands prix.
Despite suffering a first winless season in 12 years in 2023, Mercedes remain hopeful of returning to title contention this year with technical director James Allison aiming to be “in with a shout” of winning both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships.
Allison also revealed that Mercedes have established a “pretty ambitious program” for the new W15 car, which is expected to be a significant departure from the designs of the last two years.
Button, who won the World Championship with Mercedes (then under the banner of Brawn GP) in 2009, believes the Brackley-based outfit are best placed to end Red Bull’s dominance.
And he is hopeful that Ferrari, the only team other than Red Bull to win a race in 2023, will be a force to be reckoned with too.
Asked which team are most likely to take the fight to Red Bull, he told Sky Sports: “Mercedes.
“When you look at the last 10 years in the sport, it’s Mercedes and Red Bull, so it would be Mercedes.
“I would love to say Ferrari, I would love to have them in the mix. You could say they were the closest competitor especially towards the end of the season, but I think Mercedes will have a good improvement [in 2024].
“Whether it’s enough [to challenge for the title], I don’t know.”
Button’s backing comes after Mercedes were granted approval by West Northamptonshire Council to expand their factory – despite opposition from local businesses.