Mercedes chief details why Red Bull are beatable in F1 2024 season

Sam Cooper
Red Bull F1 driver Max Verstappen hunts down Mercedes' George Russell during the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Mercedes are one of the teams hoping to catch Red Bull in 2024.

Mercedes’ technical director James Allison believes the fact that the grid closed up towards the end of the 2023 season shows Red Bull can be caught.

Red Bull are expected to arrive in the 2024 season with a sizeable performance lead on their opponents given their advantage throughout 2023 but not all hope is lost of a tighter competition.

Allison, who played a full role in designing a Mercedes car for the first time since 2021’s W12, believes there was a trend of the file bunching up last season.

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The W15 was one of the most dramatic looking cars to be unveiled last week as Mercedes seek the kind of performance gain that will see them be able to challenge Red Bull for the title.

As to why Allison believes that is possible, he said you only need to look at the Q1 times last season to show how close each car is.

“There is just a little bit that nestles in the back of our heads, which is that the rules themselves have a much more clear upper boundary to them in the amount of lap time these cars are capable of producing,” he said.

“Much more than the older generation of cars, which the more love you gave them and the more labour you put into them, the faster they got, seemingly without end.

“If you look at last year, you see, from the start of the season to the end of the season — although Red Bull’s dominance was near complete, and they didn’t look vulnerable even to the last race of the year — if you look at the bigger picture, this is a grid that is gradually compressing, and all the cars in Q1 were sort of squashed down within one second of each other.

“And that’s not coincidence. It’s a trend that has happened from 2022, continued in 2023, and I think will continue to show itself in 2024, because the gains are getting more and more asymptotic.

“I think therefore, that in addition to us I hope having worked well, my guess is it’s going to be relatively busier near the top of the grid this time around.

“If we are good enough to be in that fight, then operational things — driver excellence, the reliability of the car, the skill of the crews that service it — all of those things start to potentially become the differentiating factors. recommends

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“Hopefully there too we’ve given a good wash and brush-up to performances that were sometimes less than stellar last year.”

Allison was under no illusion it would be easy though and agreed with team principal Toto Wolff’s assessment that it is akin to climbing Mount Everest.

“I think Toto drew the comparison between climbing Everest and the challenge we have in front of us,” Allison said.

“That’s a fairly apt comparison, because Everest is the sternest of challenges, but it is nevertheless, something that is possible to do.

“I think that’s how we’re taking this, as something which is where we are absolutely a challenger rather than a favourite.

“But nevertheless, we hope we’ve done a good job with the new car — we hope we’ve addressed some of the shortcomings that were so publicly on display with it last year.”

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