Mercedes’ engine advantage is locked in for the long haul, Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko insists.
Renault-powered Red Bull is arguing stridently for a change of regulations in formula one, after Mercedes’ advantage appeared only to have grown heading into 2015.
However, the so-called engine freeze was slightly relaxed over the winter, giving manufacturers some ‘tokens’ to trade for performance upgrades.
“Oh, forget the tokens,” Marko told Speed Week.
“The crux of this whole power unit problem is that it was decided to freeze the development. Whoever found themselves behind in preparing for this (turbo V6) concept has no chance of ever catching up,” he insisted.
Marko acknowledged it is unlikely Red Bull’s rivals will consent to a rule change.
“For quick changes, unanimity is required,” he said, “and changes in 2017 require a majority vote. Mercedes has four teams, which is the highest number, so no majority decisions can be achieved against them.”
However, not everyone in F1 is arguing for change. Ferrari has made big engine improvements over the winter, with veteran technical figure Pat Symonds estimating that the Italian marque is now essentially “on par” with Mercedes.
And McLaren boss Eric Boullier says he is confident Honda will eventually “catch up”.
Marko begs to differ: “We at Red Bull do not believe that, with these restrictions in this form, any other manufacturer will ever catch up with Mercedes.
“If you do not have that engine, you have no chance at the moment.
“I can’t imagine that Honda will catch up in the medium term. Ferrari’s performance must also be seen relatively: they are not closer, they are just better than last year.”
Some believe Red Bull is making so much noise early in 2015 not just because of the engine freeze situation and Renault’s problems, but because Adrian Newey’s latest creation may not be his best.
Indeed, in Australia, the sister team Toro Rosso was not far away from Red Bull’s pace.
“No,” Marko insists, “we simply did not drive enough to tune the car. (Daniil) Kvyat could not even race.” (GMM)