George Russell believes Mercedes will be in a better place in 2024 because its car concept will not be as rushed in development as last season’s was.

Mercedes attempted a zero-sidepod design that it felt would bring significant aerodynamic benefits, but struggled to make it work in 2022. With Russell winning in Brazil late that year, the concept was continued for the following season but Mercedes soon tried to change its approach and Russell says he’s expecting next year’s car to be far more competitive, given the amount of time it has been developed for.

“The reason why I’m more confident going into this break is that we’ve been working on the new concept for a long time and there’s been so much due diligence gone into that concept,” Russell said. “Whereas I think last year it was all a little bit rushed.

“We didn’t have all the information to hand — we may have jumped to a couple of conclusions without thoroughly going through the consequences. We learned when the car hit the ground this year that we made a step forward in some regards but it came with a lot of baggage and we hadn’t taken that into consideration.

“So I think we’ve done a great job to truly understand what we need. We’ve obviously had a further 12 months’ experience to further understand the car and what brings the performance.”

After Mercedes’ first winless year since 2011, Russell says the team was in a position where it couldn’t turn its season around without a brand-new car, but he’s wary of predicting how close to Red Bull it could be next year.

“I think last ye ar we put all our eggs in one basket and that wasn’t a basket that provided the performance we were expecting, so the fact is we’ve got to close a huge gap. The Red Bull dominance this year is probably the greatest — I think statistically it is the most dominant car ever — so we’ve all got a huge task on our hands but I’m going into next year with an open mind.

“I don’t think anyone’s expecting either us, McLaren, Aston Martin or Ferrari to make that step straight away, but definitely confident we won’t fall into some of the same traps we did this year.”