Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin has conceded that taking a McLaren-esque leap to catch Red Bull in would be a "stretch".
The sizeable upgrades McLaren started to introduce in Austria transformed its season and brought the team into contention for podiums, while the big Mercedes upgrade in Monaco was downplayed as simply getting the team onto the right development path and not a package to reel in Red Bull.
Fellow Mercedes power unit customer Aston Martin has also taken giant leaps forward in 2023, but despite this, Shovlin feels Mercedes taking such a chunk of time out of Red Bull is a not realistic.
Viewed by others:
"The step McLaren made was pretty impressive, and you can see that they've changed a fair bit on their car," Trackside Engineering Director Shovlin told media including RacingNews365.
"For us, we need to close that gap to Red Bull and we are still developing the car.
"Whether or not we could the find half-a-second that they look to have found, I don't know. That'd be a stretch."
The Monaco upgrades ditched the zero sidepod concept that the team had stuck to, with the new car delivering podiums for Lewis Hamilton in Spain, Canada and Britain, with Shovlin detailing how the W14 has been improved.
"The front of the car is a bit more coherent, a bit stronger so we are having to work to balance that, but it does look to have gone in the right direction," he said.
"Our correlation over the last year has been strong in that we make bits and we race them, we're not putting kits on and off trying to decide whether we've done the right thing.
"However, look at where Aston Martin were at the start of the year and then where they've been in some of the recent races. That's only because other people are developing very quickly.
"It's difficult to gauge the progress when you just look at how the teams stack up. But the fact is, you can see those moves where people do bring updates.
"We just need to work to try and improve the development rate but the focus for us is making sure we can challenge Red Bull or whoever it is at the front next year.
"So it's a case of balancing that bigger goal with what we can do on this car and also learning with this car because if you don't change the car, you don't learn a lot.
"A lot of the development is about learning for the future."