This year’s Formula 1 cars haven’t even turned a wheel yet, but design legend Adrian Newey has already predicted that it will be very difficult for the Renault-, Ferrari- and the returning Honda-powered runners to catch the teams equipped with Mercedes power in 2015.
Mercedes and its works team dominated in 2014, claiming eleven 1-2 finishes and winning 16 out of 19 races, easily securing both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles in the first season of Formula 1’s new turbo era.
Since there will be no major changes to the technical regulations this year, Newey is expecting the reigning World Champions to stay at the top of the pecking order.
“Can Renault and Ferrari, with their engines, get to that stage next year? I don’t know,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s going to be a very difficult challenge, and obviously we don’t know where Honda are going to come in [with McLaren],” he added.
Despite Mercedes enjoying a rumoured 80bhp advantage over its Renault-powered rivals last year, Newey still drew confidence from the three race wins Daniel Ricciardo secured at the Canadian, Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix – the only non-Mercedes wins of 2014.
“With a slightly weaker engine but a superior chassis you can still win and vice-versa. We have a reasonably even balance between engine and chassis – which, in my view, is how it should be,” he added.
Newey will take a step back from his Formula 1 commitments to focus on Red Bull’s partnership with Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team, however, he still played a key role in the design of the team’s 2015 F1 challenger (the RB11) and will attend a few of this year’s races to support the team.
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