At the Russia GP the winner was silver, but in the Land of the Rising Sun everything expects a Ferrari comeback, Red Bull also wants to have its say.
Even though Mercedes was able to clinch a one-two victory at the Russia GP in Sochi, sports boss Toto Wolff knows that he was “lucky”, because Ferrari has made great progress in the past weeks, especially in terms of top speed.
“They are certainly the current yardstick.” The Austrian explains this trend reversal with the fact that “we haven’t used any updates for a long time and weren’t on the right track either. Some of our decisions were unfortunate and so we gave away victories.
“But in Sochi, bad luck turned into happiness again”.
In Japan Mercedes will only show up with a few minor updates
“Things we’d like to try, but no big steps.” Nevertheless, Wolff is sure that “we’ll be at eye level with the Reds if we get everything right.”
While Mercedes won the first eight races of the season, you could “only” win two of the second eight.
In Maranello they are looking forward to the trip to Formula 1 Japan because Suzuka is one of Sebastian Vettel’s favourite tracks and the team are on the up, excusing the current toxic team mate situation as previously reported by TJ13. READ MORE ON THAT HERE
“Suzuka is sure to be great because it’s one of those old school tracks that haven’t been modified over and over again.
“The track is very fast with a lot of great corners. The first sector alone is almost the best you can find in racing,” enthuses the German.
Team mate Charles Leclerc is also bigging up their chances saying:
“Our car worked very well in Monza, but also in Singapore. We were fast on both tracks, which are completely opposite.
“This shows that we’re making steady progress and won’t be slow in Suzuka either.”
But the Monegasque warns that you can’t just believe in a duel between Ferrari and Mercedes.
“Honda is at home there, so Red Bull Racing will certainly be strong.”
Before the season, Red Bull Motorsport Director Helmut Marko leaned far out of the window and demanded five race victories.
So far, however, there have only been two places on the top podium, so something still has to come. But Marko is confident:
“We’ve been working intensively with Honda towards Suzuka recently and are using a major engine update there and we’re getting a new fuel.
“We’re hoping for a significant gain from this. In addition, Suzuka fits in with our car again from the track.”
Max Verstappen was on the podium in all three RBR races in Japan – 2016 & 2017 as second, last year as third.
“Suzuka is a beautiful track that I really like. It suits me well and also our car. So I think we should be able to be at the front of the field.”
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