F1 pundit identifies two reasons why Red Bull retain 2024 advantage over equal Mercedes

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes and Red Bull racing in the Qatar Grand Prix.

Mercedes and Red Bull racing.

F1 analyst Peter Windsor believes Red Bull’s two seasons of front-running knowledge, plus George Russell taking points off Lewis Hamilton, means it remains advantage Red Bull even if the Mercedes W15 delivers.

The teams are hard at work crafting their new challengers for F1 2024, the third season under the current regulations, as Mercedes push to be the team which finally finds the answer to stop Red Bull, who claimed a sensational 21 grand prix wins out of 22 last season.

Mercedes are set to follow a fresh and “more conventional” philosophy for their W15, but even if it puts them back in the title picture in terms of pace as hoped, Windsor is confident Red Bull will retain the advantage when it comes to execution.

Red Bull has crucial experience which Mercedes lacks

Speaking in a YouTube livestream, former Ferrari and Williams team manager Windsor argued that Red Bull’s crucial experience gained in how to master these F1 ground effect regulations, all Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles up for grabs so far having gone their way, means already they hold the advantage should the Mercedes W15 be a threat for pace.

During these two title double-winning campaigns for Red Bull, Mercedes has scored just one victory as they went winless throughout F1 2023 for the first time in a season since 2011.

“There’s an opportunity to do a different car, and let’s assume they do a car as good as Red Bull, I think that Red Bull will still have the advantage, even if the Mercedes is just as good as the Red Bull in every dimension,” said Windsor.

“Because Red Bull have got this two years of experience of knowing how to run this car in all different variables that come into play in such a long championship, with such a wide range of circuits and conditions and track surfaces, Pirelli tyre compound differences and deg and all that stuff.

“Red Bull has got all that for the car that they basically have and will continue to have in 2024, whereas Mercedes will effectively, if they do have a Red Bull [level of car], be starting from zero in terms of knowledge of how to run that car.

“So that’s one thing that will make it difficult for Mercedes to beat Red Bull.”

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Mercedes has George Russell ‘taking points’ from Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes decided after 2021 to move away from the driver pairing of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas that had delivered five Constructors’ titles, with their academy graduate Russell promoted to their line-up after three seasons with Williams.

Hamilton bounced back from a 2022 defeat by getting the better of Russell in their second season as team-mates, but with Red Bull having a clear driver hierarchy as Max Verstappen leads the way alongside Sergio Perez, Windsor believes the polar opposite Mercedes dynamic also would hinder them in an F1 2024 title battle with Red Bull.

“And then the other reason is that even if Mercedes do get it right, Lewis has still got to beat George Russell,” Windsor continued. “That’s not easy for him to do, because George is never going to go away, he’s really quick.

“And Max doesn’t have that problem at Red Bull, so in theory, George could be taking points away from Lewis, whereas Perez very rarely is going to take points away from Max, so it’s going to be Max versus either George or Lewis and that is going to help Max.”

A fan would put it to Windsor that if Mercedes do deliver a leading challenger once more, then Hamilton is all set to claim a record-breaking eighth World Championship in F1 2024.

Windsor responded by agreeing Hamilton is up to that challenge, even though he does not believe him to be a better driver than Verstappen, though returned to the idea that Russell being in the sister Mercedes is not helpful with that milestone in mind.

“Could he win his eighth? Of course he could, if the car is there,” said Windsor of Hamilton.

“Lewis is really good. I don’t think he’s any better than Max, I think he can be as good as Max if the Mercedes is really good, but Max wouldn’t want George Russell in the other car, that is for sure.”

Both Hamilton and Russell agreed new Mercedes contracts during the past season, keeping them with the team until the end of 2025.

Read next: Mercedes reveal first details of W15 F1 2024 car with ‘pretty ambitious’ target set