Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has claimed that beating Red Bull before the 2026 season is “against the odds”.
The 2026 campaign will see fresh technical regulations introduced, including the debut of new Power Units.
F1's most recent technical shake-up came last year and saw Red Bull stretch a lead over the rest of the competition, allowing it to take back-to-back Drivers' and Constructors' Championships.
Speaking to media including RacingNews365, Wolff commended Red Bull's efforts over the last two years.
“Red Bull started these regulations in 2022 with a massive advantage and was able to maintain it,” Wolff said.
“You got to have a lot of respect for their achievement from the engineering side and the driver.
“Beating them under the current regulations is against the odds, that's clear.”
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Wolff highlights rival gains as inspiration
Mercedes is set to completely change its car concept for next year's campaign as it aims to bridge the gap to Red Bull.
While Wolff acknowledged that besting Red Bull will be a tall task, he pointed to recent gains made elsewhere on the grid as inspiration.
“At the same time, we've seen with McLaren, an update unlocked a second in lap time or AlphaTauri coming strong at the end and Aston Martin over the winter,” he said.
“There is a key to unlocking dramatically more performance and I think us assessing it in an honest way, this car is never going to be good enough to fight for a championship.
“We if they can be you know, we've taken the decision in spring that we got that we got to go back to the drawing board and come up with something new next year.
“But Mount Everest is in front of us.”