Daniel Ricciardo is adamant Red Bull Racing will come back stronger than ever after enduring a difficult Formula One campaign in 2016.
Red Bull failed to win a Grand Prix for the first time since 2008 and had their lowest finish in the Constructors Championship (4th) since the same year.
However, Ricciardo is remaining upbeat about Red Bull's chances next season and is hopeful they can compete for race wins once again.
"I think the first six months of the year were a bit of a reality check for all of us," the 26-year-old Australian told Motorsport.com.
"It was one of those things where it wasn't just happening anymore. We had to find an alternative, or find something else, or keep working harder.
"It was good for me to go through that as a driver and experience a few more of the lows, after all the highs.
"As a team, I thought it was a really good turnaround. It could have dragged them down, but instead, from mid-season onwards the car just came to life.
"It was impressive how everyone kept it together. I think it's made us stronger, and I think when we get the equipment again - the full package - we'll kill it.
"It's a long shot next year, to be honest. It should be a little bit better, but to get on Mercedes' level, realistically we'll probably have to wait until 2017. But you never know.
"You never know what can happen. This year we nearly got a win or two, so you don't know. But we'll play it down for now."