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Mercedes Make Worrying Confession, Conceding ‘Second-Best’ Crown to F1 Rivals

Naman Gopal Srivastava

Mercedes Make Worrying Confession, Conceding ‘Second-Best’ Crown to F1 Rivals

After a slow start to the season, Mercedes soon found their pace to overtake Aston Martin and climb up to second in the constructor’s championship. Just as they were starting to improve further, a new name has come up to vie for the ‘second-best’ team in F1. Speaking about the incredible rise of McLaren in 2023, X user Junaid JB#17 quotes the words of Andrew Shovlin, who makes a worrisome claim for Mercedes.

The famous win in Brazil last year cooked up the perfect recipe for disaster for Mercedes this year, claimed Toto Wolff. After a disappointing season where Mercedes finished third, the win in Brazil led them to believe the W13’s concept was not wrong, and they decided to keep the same concept for the W14, leading to the car being non-competitive for most of the 2023 season. With the team already struggling with their W14, McLaren’s improvements have only made things worse for the Brackley-based outfit.

McLaren’s rise gives way to Mercedes potentially conceding their ‘second-best’ status in F1

McLaren and their performances have been the talk of the town throughout the 2023 season. Having started the season With a DNF and a P17 (Norris) finish in Bahrain, the team has come a long way. The latest GP in Japan saw them claim two-thirds of the podium with a P2 and P3 finish, following a P2 finish by Lando Norris in Singapore.

Following the race in Japan, Andrew Shovlin admitted to McLaren having a better car than Mercedes, thus suggesting they are no longer the second-best team on the grid, as reported by Junaid JB#17.

“Well, I think the update they did in Singapore didn’t look massive there, but that’s all low-speed corners, here [Japan] it’s all high-speed, and that’s what we saw them get very good at when they did the previous update in Austria. So right now they’ve just got a better car.”

Before the British GP, McLaren only had 29 points in the constructor’s standings and was struggling at the bottom end of the rankings. Following an upgrade package in Silverstone, the team saw a marvelous improvement and secured more points (30) in one race than they had from the previous nine.

Continuing their form since then, the Woking-based team sits in fifth in the constructor’s standings and is only 49 points away from fourth-placed Aston Martin (221).

Where did Mercedes fail against McLaren?

As the season began, the dominance of the RB19 was on display right away. Still, in the early stages of the season, teams tried mimicking the RB19 setup to their cars in order to make them more competitive. Mercedes, too, tried the same but did not opt to implement the changes as they saw a major loss of downforce in their cars. Meanwhile, their customer, McLaren, also tried to pivot the MCL60’s concept toward the RB19 and had a much better result.

With the engine from Mercedes and a concept similar to the RB19, the McLaren cars are the perfect recipe to take anyone down. It is only a matter of time before they can perfect the developments and further improve their pace. Despite Stella claiming Verstappen is a big step ahead of McLaren, Norris’ words of him coming for Red Bull could soon be a reality rather than empty challenges.

About the author

Naman Gopal Srivastava

Naman Gopal Srivastava


Naman is an F1 writer at The SportsRush. Initially a football fanatic who worships Puyol and Leo Messi, Naman soon fell in love with the world of F1 upon reading about Jim Clarke. While the current era drivers do fascinate him, Naman still chooses to idolize Clarke and Ayrton Senna. When he is not busy watching the highlights of some of the greatest races of his idols, Naman can be found scribbling little snippets in his diary of poems or out in the town, exploring new places to eat.

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