Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko believes that it will be very difficult to beat the utterly dominant Mercedes outfit until 2022 given the development freeze.
Although Red Bull was adamant to pose a real threat to Mercedes in the championship fight, the Milton Keynes-based team’s hopes quickly diminished at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix when it became apparent that the reigning champion might carry an even bigger pace advantage than in previous years.
Marko finds its difficult to accept that Mercedes managed to make an enormous jump in terms of engine performance over the winter. The Mercedes-powered cars have occupied the first spots in the speed traps so far this year, indicating that the Brixworth-based manufacturer has found big gains for this season.
While Ferrari’s downfall in the power unit manufacturers’ pecking order is down to FIA’s technical directives, many have been left puzzled by the extent of Mercedes’ gains over the winter even compared to Renault and Honda. The Mercedes powered cars have been emitting puffs of smoke at every race, especially the Racing Point’s RP20s while Williams driver George Russell has also revealed that his team’s engine supplier had achieved huge improvements in terms of its qualifying modes.
Marko said that Red Bull’s engine supplier Honda also fails to understand how Mercedes has leapfrogged its rivals over the winter.
“Adrian Newey is currently getting to the bottom of it, but the horsepower that Mercedes found over the winter is another story. We’re all getting nervous, he told Dutch publication De Telegraaf.
Asked whether Mercedes can retain its unsurmountable form next year, Marko said: “Yes, I think so because you can’t change much even in 2021. That doesn’t make it easy to catch Mercedes.
Reflecting on Mercedes’ dominance that started seven years ago in 2014, McLaren driver Carlos Sainz said that he can see no reason why that could stop before the end of 2021 given the development freeze. “You don’t have to be a genius to see that Formula 1 is being dominated by Mercedes,” he told El Mundo Deportivo.
As the current cars will be carried over to 2021, the Spaniard, who will replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari next season, can hardly imagine how anyone could pose a real threat to Mercedes.
“Right now it’s difficult for everyone, whether it’s Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault or Racing Point to fight for the world championship with the dominance of this year and in 2021, the cars will be practically the same. It’s just common sense that until 2022 it will be very difficult to beat Mercedes.”