Mercedes confident secret weapon can inspire F1 title challenge again

Leis Hamilton and George Russell have been unable to compete with a dominant Red Bull  (Getty Images)
Leis Hamilton and George Russell have been unable to compete with a dominant Red Bull (Getty Images)

Mercedes have endured a tough couple of seasons but are optimistic that a secret weapon could have them challenging for the title once more within a couple of years.

Since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of the 2021 season, where Lewis Hamilton was controversially denied a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ World Championship title but Mercedes did win an eighth straight Constructors’ Championship, the Silver Arrows have struggled to compete with a dominant Red Bull outfit.

Hamilton’s race-win drought now stands at more than two-and-a-half years, while teammate George Russell has triumphed in just one race during that period, with Max Verstappen becoming the unstoppable force in F1.

But new chassis and power unit regulations are set to be introduced in 2026 and Mercedes are now quietly confident that this could be a major turning point for them.

The last major engine regulation changes in F1 came back in 2014 and sparked their eight-year Constructors’ winning streak. Red Bull are set to become a power unit manufacturer in their own right in 2026, working alongside Ford, but Mercedes technical director James Allison claims there are echoes of 2014 around the Brackley factory.

Allison told Sky Sports F1: “I wasn’t in the team in the run-up to 2014 when the new generation of power units were being concocted and the enormous push to make them a reality was taking place. But those of us in the team who were, tell me that the feeling is very similar.

“There is a massive shove going on in HPP [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains] to make a success of that because it will set the course of anyone who’s lucky enough to have that in the back of their car for some seasons to come.

“We’re lucky that we will be on the receiving end of all the good investment they are making on our joint behalf.”

As Mercedes build for 2026, their driver line-up for 2025 still remains up in the air, after Hamilton’s announcement he will be joining Ferrari at the end of the campaign.

Lewis Hamilton is headed to Ferrari for 2025 (PA Wire)
Lewis Hamilton is headed to Ferrari for 2025 (PA Wire)

There was speculation that Carlos Sainz would fill the vacancy alongside Russell, in essentially a driver swap, although the Spaniard is being heavily linked with a move to Sauber, who will become Audi. And Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff gave his thoughts on this development.

Wolff said: “Carlos has his place in Formula 1, has been a Ferrari race winner in the last two years and someone with huge experience.

“I think what I said is we need to prepare to compromise in certain decisions and to wait long, how the situation pans out over the summer and into autumn.

“With George we have a great driver that is with us. Fantastic. And then let’s see who is going to be his teammate. But we don’t need to take this decision now.”