Mercedes cannot make the "promise" of definitely catching up to Red Bull in 2024, according to George Russell.
The Milton Keynes-based squad has been the dominant outfit of F1's ground-effects era, securing two championship doubles with Max Verstappen winning 29 of 39 Grands Prix since the start of 2022.
By contrast, Mercedes has fumbled the regulations, picking up a solitary win, through Russell in Brazil, and is at risk of not winning a Grand Prix in a season for the first time since 2011 with its W14 machine.
The team has committed to following a more Red Bull-esque design for the 2024 W15, but Russell feels that an outright promise of catching and being on par with the RB20 is simply not possible.
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Russell and Hamilton on closing Red Bull gap
"When we look at our car, we see a number of flaws in it," Russell told media including RacingNews365.
"It's not like we're looking at it scratching our head thinking: 'Where can we improve it?'
"We think there's loads of places that we can improve it. We've made some really good findings recently with regards to the aero of the car and some of the bits and pieces on the car, which is looking very promising.
"But we can never promise what we're going to deliver over the winter in terms of a result, because it's a relative game.
"We can only focus on ourselves. But I'm extremely confident in my team, and very confident in the decision-makers and the direction we're heading, that we've made some really great learnings, and we won't trip up and make a mistake as we have done these past few seasons."
Team-mate Hamilton echoed thoughts, and insisted Mercedes' focus was on themselves, not necessarily catching Red Bull.
"I have 100% faith in the guys, the team back in the factory working away on it, and who knows?," he said of catching Red Bull in 2024.
"I mean, we don't know where they are or where they're progressing to. I think we just have to focus on our job and not necessarily be so focused on closing that gap.
"It’s going to be what it is. By the time we get to the first race, hopefully, it is closed."