Lewis Hamilton has backed Mercedes to step up its pure power output next year in a bid to challenge Ferrari’s straight-line speed.
Mercedes dominated the early years of the hybrid era, largely aided by the strength of its power unit, but Ferrari has moved clear through 2019.
Different concept designs have also facilitated the reversal, with Mercedes admitting earlier in the year that it had shifted its aerodynamic philosophy in order to maximise its prospects.
In spite of Ferrari’s straight-line speed advantage Mercedes has taken 12 wins from 17 attempts this season, and wrapped up the Constructors’ title at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Hamilton, though, praised Mercedes for its development but accepted that it has to unearth gains in order to get on par with Ferrari, without compromising other areas.
“I think it’s not been a great year for us in terms of the great issue, in terms of our engine development,” he said.
“I think it’s been a really hard time for the guys, they’ve been working as hard as ever but it’s just not been as successful in that department.
“Plus it’s quite draggy but we’ve had great reliability and hopefully that remains the same and that’s still something to be really proud of, of course.
“We have, obviously, still won the Constructors’ championship but we’ll push to try and maybe reduce the drag a little bit but also increasing power for next [year] so they’re fully onto it.
“I have all the confidence in the world that we’ll be able to make some sort of step into the next season.”
Hamilton added that his late chase of Sebastian Vettel at Suzuka emphasised the difference between the power units of the respective teams.
“Of course I got in the tow of Seb, the tow with DRS and maximum power and everything… it’s incredible how quick they are,” he said.
“It makes it very, very difficult, even if you’ve got the advantage of the tyre but I think it’s cool anyway, it provides interesting racing.”