Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has backed Mercedes to get on top of their issues and become the third outfit in the 2022 title fight.
After taking eight successive Constructors' Championships since 2014, Mercedes have fallen back to earth with a bump this year, as Ferrari and Red Bull duel for victories.
Designed around F1's new technical regulations for 2022, Mercedes' W13 challenger noticeably struggles with porpoising, and the Silver Arrows have been relegated to scrapping for occasional podium finishes.
Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have complained that the W13 is a tricky beast to tame, and Horner noted that Mercedes' sudden problems after eight years of almost unbroken success exemplifies the unpredictable nature of car development in F1.
"[Mercedes' problems] demonstrate nothing is certain," Horner told The Athletic.
"They talked quite a bit last year of moving quite early on to [development for] this year's car.
"Obviously, they've experienced some problems, and they're obviously nowhere near where they would want to be at this point in time."
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Horner: Mercedes will come back on song
After the Miami Grand Prix, Mercedes sit a distant third in the Constructors' Championship with 95 points, behind Ferrari on 157 points and Red Bull on 151, with Russell and Hamilton sitting fourth and sixth respectively in the Drivers' Championship.
But despite their current malaise, Horner is adamant Mercedes have too much talent and expertise at their disposal to be cut adrift from the front for too long.
"They've got some very bright people there. I'm sure they'll work it out. The question is: how long will it take?" pondered Horner.
"They will come back on song at some point. There are too many smart people there not to work it out. So at some point, I expect them to be a factor.
"It's such a long season, and things can change very quickly."
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