1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill says he is unsure if other teams will be able to catch Red Bull by the end of the 2023 season.
Red Bull has started the campaign in strong fashion, winning all eight race staged so far.
The Milton Keynes-based squad is no longer bringing major upgrades this year and has a buffer to start focusing on its 2024 F1 car.
A number of other teams are likely to follow suit, but Mercedes has signalled that it will continue to upgrade its current car after changing its development direction in recent races.
It has abandoned the ‘zero sidepod’ concept and has been pleased with the early results of its new parts, taking podium results in Spain and Canada.
“I think Mercedes have turned a corner, but the question is where the end of that development curve is going to peak,” said Hill, as quoted by Autosport.
“In F1 this year, the excitement factor is actually whether or not we are going to see for the first time a team win every single race.”
Mercedes has highlighted that it hopes it will be able to challenge Red Bull by the end of the 2023 season.
But Hill has questioned if it is worth applying focus to next year’s car instead to ensure it starts the season on the right foot.
“To close the gap significantly enough to put pressure on Red Bull, teams will have to devote resources away from the following year,” he said.
“We are already hearing some teams talking about next year and saying they are going to continue to upgrade, but they are better off putting their resources into next year’s car – so I don’t know [whether Red Bull will be caught] between now and the end of the year.
“You would hope they would be fizzling out a bit and the others would be pressing ahead and we would get some racing, but that is no good if it is at the expense of them not being competitive in 2024.”