Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa believes that Ferrari’s early season form has shown that top teams don’t need the likes of Adrian Newey to compete at the front.
Heading into the new season, Red Bull were touted as the favourites to dethrone Mercedes, with many believing that the new focus on aerodynamics would play into Red Bull’s hands, after enjoying large success between 2009-2013 with arguably the best chassis and aerodynamics.
However, it’s been a difficult start for the Milton Keynes outfit this season. In the first four races, they have only scored one podium (Verstappen finishing 3rd in China). They also have often been over a second off the pace. They currently sit third in the champion, having scored just 57 points. Mercedes on the other hand have scored 136. After the Australian GP, Daniel Ricciardo has said that Red Bull’s big weakness is a lack of rear downforce.
Ferrari on the other hand sit one point behind Mercedes in the constructors. Sebastian Vettel leads the world championship by thirteen points as well, and has won two of the opening four races. Vettel has taken two podiums as well, with Raikkonen contributing one as well last weekend at Russia. Ferrari had a complete restructure in their technical department following James Allison leaving the team, and has a larger focus on homegrown talent. The technical department at Ferrari is now overseen by Mattia Binotto.
Speaking about his former team, Massa, said that; “I think Ferrari is doing something that nobody expected this year and that’s really nice, that shows that it doesn’t mean that, because you have Adrian Newey in your team, that everything will be better than everybody” He also added saying that he too thought that Red Bull would be the only team able to take the fight to Mercedes for the 2017 season.
Red Bull will introduce a new “B-Spec” chassis at the Spanish GP. This is in hopes to turnaround their form. However, time will tell how competitive the package is. Renault have recently announced that their upgraded engine has been delayed, which could hold Red Bull back a bit further.