Bernie Ecclestone doubts Mercedes can be beaten in 2017.
Many are hoping and expecting that, with the major aerodynamic regulation changes, 2016 runner-up Red Bull can mount a serious title tilt this year.
But F1 supremo Ecclestone told the Munich newspaper TZ: “If Red Bull believes they can beat Mercedes with better aerodynamics, I’m not so sure.
“The gap that Mercedes has with the engine is still huge,” he insisted.
However, Ecclestone does fully support Red Bull’s young sensation Max Verstappen, despite the controversy his attacking style has provoked.
“He is a future world champion,” said the 86-year-old Briton.
“He tries to win races and is probably better at being on the limit than the others. That’s racing,” said Ecclestone.
Former Sauber technical boss Willy Rampf agrees with Ecclestone that the pecking order is unlikely to change in 2017.
“From the outside, I got the impression last year that Mercedes only released the developments that were necessary to stay ahead of the others,” he told Speed Week.
“They did not show everything that was possible in 2016, and had the opportunity to work on the 2017 regulations from an early stage,” added Rampf.