Toto Wolff says the gap between Mercedes and Formula 1 pace-setters is "just too big" following a poor Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
While Red Bull dominated the weekend through Max Verstappen, who won qualifying and then recovered from 14th on the grid to win following a grid penalty, Mercedes languished well behind their rivals.
The lead Mercedes in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton, was 1.8s slower than Verstappen in one-lap pace, with their race pace a little better, but George Russell still finished 30 seconds behind in fourth.
Speaking after the race, Wolff was alarmed by the pace deficit, given Mercedes' high expectations following the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mercedes need to accept reality, says Wolff
Mercedes are now winless in 15 races, stretching back to the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – their worst winless run since 2012/13.
Wolff believes the team need to "accept the reality" of the situation and look towards the W14 and the 2023 season.
"I don't think you can be satisfied with [Max] Verstappen being in a league of his own," he explained to Sky Sports F1 post-race.
"We need to really find out how we can improve our cars – the gap is just too big."
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Wolff's take on Hamilton's comments
Asked about Hamilton's comments earlier in the weekend regarding the car being difficult to drive, Wolff said: "That's just the reality, I think we need to accept that.
"The car is very difficult to drive and hasn't got the pace on a single lap, so we just need to work ourselves out.
"There will be lots of sticking their heads together. Setting the sights on not only the next few races, but also next season.
"I hope that [at] a track that would suit us more, we are more competitive, but we mustn't be too much between depression and mania.
"Today would be all the reason to be depressed, but in Hungary three weeks ago, we were thinking, 'Yes, absolutely, we're going to win a race', so we'll never give up."
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