Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff has once again announced his fears of the upsurge going on a few garages down at Red Bull Racing.
If Mercedes do have an Achilles heel on the calendar, then the Hungaroring is it. The nature of the winding circuit gives no penalty to a chassis that performs well under a high drag. Red Bull have a real chance of winning on Sunday if their weekend goes smoothly. Mercedes will be without their usual advantage, and whilst the W07 is unchallenged when leading, but it looks suspect when racing in the pack. The dirty air zone that all cars run in when following closely behind another seems to upset the Mercedes’ balance more so than its nearest rivals.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) July 18, 2016
It’s as if the W07 has been designed specifically to run at the front, only able to extract complete performance when driving in the clean air. Toto Wolff is aware that Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will offer a rare head-to-head race as Red Bull emerge as the closest rivals.
Regarding the threat posed by Red Bull for the upcoming race, Wolff said,
“We face a very different challenge in Budapest. This circuit has not been kind to us over the past two years, and it plays to the strengths of our rivals.
The Red Bull, for example, is a car that functions well where high drag isn’t penalised as much as at other types of circuit. So in wet conditions and at low-speed circuits such as the Hungaroring, they are a major threat. We will need to be flawless to come out on top at this track.”
– Toto Wolff
Flawless indeed, because Red Bull have had only good luck in Hungary. Last year, the Bulls charged to a double-podium finish, and Ricciardo won the race back in 2014.