Mercedes has not given up on title defence, says technical director Elliott

Mercedes hasn’t given up on defending its Formula One constructors’ title despite a difficult start to the season, says technical director Mike Elliott.

Mike Elliott, technical director of Mercedes, talks at a press conference prior to practice ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.   -  Getty Images

Mercedes has not given up on defending its Formula One constructors’ title despite a difficult start to the season, the team’s technical director Mike Elliott said on Saturday.

The team, which has won the last eight world championships, is third overall after five races and 63 points adrift of leader Ferrari, with Red Bull second and 57 points ahead of Mercedes.

“Of course. We wouldn’t be here otherwise,” Elliott said when asked at the Spanish Grand Prix whether Mercedes believed it could still win the 2022 championship.

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“Until it’s mathematically over, it’s not over. We’re not a huge distance behind. If we can get the car to a position where we’re competitive and hopefully out in front then there’s every chance.

“But we’ve got to have a level of humility. These guys (Red Bull) have made a really good start, Ferrari have made a really good start and they are not going to be easy to chase down.”

‘Good step forward’

Red Bull’s defending world champion Max Verstappen has won three of the five races so far and Ferrari’s championship leader Charles Leclerc the other two. Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who fought to the last lap of the final race in 2021, is 68 points behind Leclerc and 23 adrift of his own Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

Mercedes’ spirits have been raised, however, by upgrades to its car in Barcelona that appear to have reduced the amount of bouncing previously experienced. “We felt like we made a good step forward yesterday,” said Elliott.

“The car seemed a lot more settled. It did what we were hoping for it to do.”

Elliott said chasing their rivals was a healthy challenge.

“It’s quite nice to be coming from behind. There’s a chunk of pressure ... but it’s been amazing to see the amount of effort at the factory,” he said.

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