Former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg thinks the team will “start a little bit behind” its rivals in 2023, but “the way they have been developing they will have a chance to challenge for the championship”.
After the final race of the 2022 season, 2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg was very complimentary of Mercedes, for the way the team managed to improve throughout the year, despite facing numerous difficulties.
“It is an incredible turnaround by them, it is so phenomenal,” Rosberg said on Sky Sports’ Any Driven Monday.
“They were sometimes up to one second off the pace at the beginning of the season from Ferrari and Red Bull, at least seven-to-eight tenths.
“Come to Mexico and Brazil, suddenly they are the fastest car out there in the race, that is an incredible turnaround.
“I think Abu Dhabi was a setback, being so far off in qualifying was a bit of a shock to them and a lot of it will come down to them struggling with drag on the straights.”
Nico then acknowledged the team still has a lot of work to do to be able to regularly compete for wins and championships.
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“The car inherently has more drag than a Ferrari and a Red Bull so that is something that they still need to try and figure out.
“That is the last key that is missing to really challenge for wins and championships next year. Are they able to sort it out over the next couple of months in the winter?
“My guess would be that they start a little bit behind still because they spent so much time figuring out the problems on the car rather than moving forward and developing the car so I think they will still be a little bit behind.
“But through the season, the way they have been developing they will have a chance to challenge for the championship, I do believe that,” Rosberg concluded.