After a challenging start to the 2022 Formula 1 season, Charles Leclerc thinks that Mercedes will return to the championship battle in 2023. Throughout the year, Mercedes struggled to find their footing under the new regulations but consistently improved their performance throughout the season. While they were able to secure podium finishes and a race win from George Russell, the championship was far out of reach.
However, despite Red Bull and Ferrari remaining the top teams at the end of the season, Mercedes made significant progress and significantly narrowed the gap between them. In an interview with motorsport-total, Leclerc stated that it would be unwise to write off Mercedes as contenders for the 2023 season, given their dominant history in the sport. He believes that the winter break will be a crucial period for the top three teams to review and build upon their findings from the previous season and apply them to their 2023 machinery.
“I think Mercedes will be in the fight. Another team? [outside the top three]. I haven’t seen any signs yet, that suggest another team will be in the top 3.
“But Mercedes will definitely be there with a very strong car next year.
“We saw how much they improved from the first race to the last.
“I think they understood what they were doing wrong, and that’s usually a sign that things are going to be better. So next year, it will hopefully be a three-team fight.”
Leclerc also noted that Ferrari has a solid foundation to build upon heading into 2023 and should not have any acceptable excuses for failing to compete at the front of the pack. Despite having a less competitive package in 2022, Mercedes still managed to stay within touching distance of Ferrari in the standings, so the Maranello squad must address any weaknesses in order to go head-to-head with the German team.
It will be interesting to see how the top teams fare in the 2023 season as they work to improve upon their previous performances. With Mercedes making notable progress in 2022 and Leclerc’s confidence in their ability to make a strong comeback, it’s clear that they will be a team to watch in the upcoming year.