Helmut Marko: Red Bull Will Catch Mercedes by Mid-Season

Motorsport Advisor for Red Bull Helmut Marko believes his team will be able to catch up to Mercedes by the mid-season. A case of wishful thinking or plausible reality?

Mercedes is the team to beat. If that opener reads like something from times past, it’s probably because it is. Mercedes has been a tour-de-force out on the track for the last three years in Formula One, and after winning the title last season, that remains unchanged. The closest contender for the crown currently is Ferrari, but Red Bull isn’t far off – and they know it.

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Red Bull’s Motorsport Advisor Halmut Marko has some predictions on how the outfit will fair heading into the 2017 season:

“Of course Mercedes is still the favorite. They have the fastest engine, they have the best drivability. Renault is catching up. How much? We will see when we come to Melbourne but we are positive that we could come very near to them mid-season or so.

The Ferrari looks strong. But I think it should be a fight between Mercedes, Ferrari and us. How close we are and the rest? We will see during the season.” – Helmut Marko

MONTMELO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer on track during day two of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 28, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
MONTMELO, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 28: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer on track during day two of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 28, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Whether or not Red Bull aspires to Marko’s wishes is another tale, but with the recent opening of the Formula One regulations to allow mid-season tweaking and tinkering, the team could easily find itself adjusting and tweaking the performance of their car in a direct response to their competitors’ decisions. Catching up to their target, however, might prove to be more difficult that Marko would like.

With overtaking fears looming on the horizon, Marko took a moment to offer his opinion. Spoiler alert: it’s more of the “we won’t know more until the race” shtick.

“The car looks much better, more aggressive, more sexy,” he said. “What I have seen in the fast corners, the cornering speed is amazing so I’m sure we will see much faster lap times. Overtaking I’m not so sure, they are braking so late it will be difficult. Let’s see when people are running with the same amount of weight and with full horsepower.” – Helmut Marko