With only two races left this season, Mercedes is determined to fight for victory over Red Bull in the Formula 1 Championship, and the German marques chief engineer sends a clear message of intent to the Austrian Red Bull Racing F1 team, but they’re not scared according to Marko.
We are now in the home stretch of the 2021 Formula 1 season. Max Verstappen still leads the drivers’ standings, but Lewis Hamilton has regained his confidence by winning the last two races and is now only eight points behind the Dutch Red Bull driver.
So the suspense remains with one week to go before the penultimate Grand Prix of the season in Saudi Arabia. And on the Mercedes side, the intention is clearly to fight to the end to win against Red Bull as Andrew Shovlin, the team’s chief engineer, explains.
“Considering we’ve just come off a triple race, we’re feeling pretty good, and we’re very excited about the challenge. It’s shaping up to be an absolutely fantastic battle.” says Shovlin,
“We’ve seen the car working really well and that gives us hope that we can go to the next two circuits and fight for pole position, fight for the win, and that’s what we have to do.
“But we’re all feeling good, we’re excited, we’re full of energy and we’re going to make sure we do absolutely everything we can to bring these championships home,” Andrew Shovlin says.
Meanwhile, Mercedes has confirmed that driver Lewis Hamilton will use the fifth engine from their inventory in Jeddah for the penultimate round of the season, the one Hamilton used in Brazil and which has very low mileage.
But this does not worry Helmut Marko of Red Bull too much, who believes that the speed advantage seen in Brazil on the Mercedes was already no longer visible in Qatar [Hamilton did not use the fifth engine in Qatar], not least because the German manufacturer’s team was no longer using the same rear wing as in Sao Paulo, and therefore expects the same to happen in Saudi Arabia.
“We saw in Qatar that Hamilton’s speed advantage on the straights was not as big [compared to Brazil], it was more or less in the normal range,” Helmut Marko told F1-insider.
“This is due to the fact that after more rigorous testing by the FIA, Mercedes could no longer use its extremely flexible rear wing. Mercedes will use the ‘rocket’ engine in Saudi Arabia, but they can no longer lower the [rear] wing, so it will no longer provide them with the four-tenths advantage.”
Marko believes Max Verstappen will be able to make a difference on an urban track like Jeddah, with the Dutchman having already won on other urban circuits this year in Monaco or largely dominating in Baku, Azerbaijan, before a tyre burst on his car and robbed him of a potential victory.
“We are confident in Max’s strength on city circuits. He won in Monaco and in Baku he clearly dominated before his tyre blew through no fault of his own. I think in terms of driving he will be able to make a difference in Saudi Arabia too.”