Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff summed up the final F1 race of the season in Abu Dhabi as "really not good".
Lewis Hamilton suffered a hydraulic problem meaning he dropped down from fourth - albeit under pressure from Carlos Sainz - to a retirement, with his car in the pits as world champion Max Verstappen yet again took the chequered flag.
Hamilton's team-mate George Russell was able to jump up to fifth place as a result, but his victory at Sao Paulo last weekend was the only one Mercedes were able to claim over the course of the whole 2022 campaign.
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That led to a disappointing end to the current season after the German outfit had seemed poised for another challenge at the Yas Marina, but instead it appears there is much work to do in the close season in order to give them a chance of not just challenging Red Bull for the title next season, but also to overtake Ferrari who will have much the same intention.
Wolff had already said that the efforts ahead of the race needed to be "put in the toilet" and the Austrian recognised the faults on the track.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the season finale, he admitted: "That was really not good. All the mistakes you can make. The car was not at the pace it should've been. One breaking down, one running out on tyres.
"I think we cooked the tyres in the first few laps. The car was good but then the front gave out. We knew Abu Dhabi was going to be a difficult one. Brazil was spectacular with a good start and finish. It was a tick.”
Wolff then turned his attention to next season, and said: "First of all, we're going to put the cars in the factory reception so every single day when we come in we know how difficult it can be.
"Thank you everyone watching in the factories. It's a character-building season. You kept pushing hard, the engine came well. The good moments were spectacular, it made us feel how good it can be. It's raw, it's bad and it's OK to feel like this but next year we will be back."
Hamilton also paid tribute to those working behind the scenes.
"These next couple of weeks, we'll be back at the factory, we'll get to see everybody, and while we're not celebrating a world championship, we'll be celebrating them still for their hard work and efforts," he said.
He added: "I hope that the struggles this year really provide us with the tools and the strengths to fight for many more championships moving forward.
"Ultimately I think we started with a car that we didn't want and we finished with a car that we didn't want, but we were basically stuck with it. We just kept trundling away, working away at improving it but I think the fundamentals have still been there all the way to the end, as you saw this weekend.
"I think it's been more of a team-building exercise this year, and I'm very, very proud and so grateful to everybody, who have just continued to push."
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