Five double victories in a row for the Mercedes AMG F1 team: But for Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko it’s the second test day in Barcelona last Wednesday that breaks all records and poses a real concern for the Austrian F1 expert.
Marko (75) to ABMS and F1 Insider: “That a second-rate Formula 2 driver records best lap times in a Mercedes right from the get-go only demonstrates how superior Mercedes is.”
Marko refers to the Russian Nikita Mazepin (20), son of Russian chemical billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, who competes in Formula 2 and who has just scored four points so far after six races. And yet, his father does everything to ensure that his son succeeds in racing sports. He just bought five test days for his son for an estimated 10 million euros from Mercedes, all with a car from 2016.
Accordingly to regulations, perfectly fine!. Mazepin tests in a Silver Arrow were possible, because according to regulations only pilots who have not yet completed two Formula 1 races, may complete test runs under the so-called beginner testing program.
“What surprises me most is that Mercedes didn’t even try to hide it and let Mazepin set the fastest lap time. In that way, their superiority becomes even more obvious,” commented Marco Mazepin’s lap times.
Hence, Marko is under no illusions what that means for coming weekend on the narrow street circuit of Monaco. Anything but a sixth double victory in a row would be a surprise for the Austrian.
“Although Mercedes has the longest wheelbase, their lead there will be even bigger, they are true traction monsters, that’s the nuts and bolts of Monaco. We’ve found something, but it’s not enough.”
For the moment, Red Bull’s real opponent is Ferrari. Marko:
“If Ferrari cannot produce downforce and traction, they’ll probably only finish sixth or seventh in Monaco. Their weakness became obvious in the last race in Barcelona, especially in the last sector. Their engine is very good but they lacked downforce and traction.”
*Dieser Artikel ist als Erstes in AUTO BILD MOTORSPORT (ABMS) erschienen.