James Allison lifts lid on Mercedes vibe as Red Bull pursuit continues

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, follows Max Verstappen, Red Bull. Canada, June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, following Max Verstappen, Red Bull. Canada, June 2023.

While seeing Red Bull continuously add to their winning streak is far from fun for Mercedes, the chase is actually “exhilarating”, claims technical director James Allison.

F1 2023 marks the second campaign in succession where Mercedes have come out of the blocks with a challenger unable to take the fight to Red Bull in pursuit of title glory, with the introduction of the new ground effect regulations for F1 2022 bringing an end to the epic tussle at the front between these two teams.

Like was the case last season then, Mercedes have now embarked on a fresh recovery mission, though already have taken a far bolder step than they took at any stage in 2022 by moving away from their unique ‘zero-pod’ philosophy as of the Monaco Grand Prix, settling now on a design more reminiscent of Red Bull’s.

Catching the defending double champs though is no easy task, Red Bull unchallenged so far in F1 2023 as they have scored eight wins from eight to start the season.

That being said, Mercedes are very much enjoying this challenge of being the hunter.

“We’re all going to feel a bit miffed about [not being competitive], even though that sort of unhappiness we see every time they win is offset hugely by the fact that it is thrilling in its own way to be fighting back, to be improving our car week-on-week,” Allison said, as per Motorsport.com.

“They don’t have a God-given right to be in the lead, they’re there by merit, having worked really well. If we can do as good or better job, we’ll be there and that is actually a lot of fun.

“It’s a very, very exhilarating thought once you frame it correctly in your head, and something that we’re all tucked into trying to make a reality.”

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Of course, it does not necessarily have to be Mercedes, it could be Aston Martin or Ferrari, or all of them would be ideal, but another team needs to find an answer to start taking the fight to Red Bull, which right now looks most likely to be Mercedes or Aston Martin.

Sure, F1 2023 has been far from boring so far, with plenty of action going on behind Red Bull’s dominance. Thinking of it that way, with Red Bull forgotten from the equation, it has actually been a very competitive and entertaining season to date.

The fact is though that which drivers and teams are taking wins and titles cannot be simply written off, so when it is only one, that is not good for the show, especially when Formula 1 has designed its regulations in an effort to bring the pack closer together.

Mercedes and Aston Martin have both taken a big step closer to Red Bull it seems with their respective upgrade packages, and so now we will see just how far this Mercedes exhilaration can carry them.