Mercedes team leader Toto Wolff is expecting a “double challenge” from Red Bull in the 2021 Drivers and Builders Championships.
Mercedes has had a turbulent hybrid time with the Silver Arrows taking the seven Drivers and Builders Championships, but Wolff feels the 2020 campaign decision signaled a threatening come in.
Red Bull took control of the last race weekend in Abu Dhabi with Max Verstappen taking a pole and winning the race, despite suggestions that Mercedes had the power to be denied for the race, after for Wolff to say he was right to deserve Yas Marina.
Nonetheless, Wolff believes Red Bull are by far among the favorites to win the titles of drivers and builders for 2021, especially now that Sergio Perez has been taken into the fold.
“That’s a very strong mix,” Wolff told Speedweek, referring to the Verstappen-Perez combo.
“Red Bull Racing certainly had the fastest car at the end of last year, so the team is in their favorite circle in 2021, especially in the Builders’ Tournament, with drivers of this species.
“I see Red Bull Racing as a double challenge, so in two World Championship divisions, drivers and teams. ”
While he didn’t take them into the ‘favorite circle’, Wolff predicted a stronger season for Ferrari, which is looking to kick back from a disappointing P6 finish in the 2020 Constructors stand.
“It will be a pleasure to see Carlos Sainz take on Charles Leclerc,” he explained.
“Ferrari will be stronger than in 2020, the Scuderia just needs to. He also suffered from a weak chassis last year. I’m assuming those lice have been removed. ”
Another team Wolff feels will be under pressure to deliver Aston Martin. With the famous brand returning to Formula 1, Wolff feels the weight of the name will be a “reality check” for their drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll.
“When you carry the name of a car manufacturer with this great tradition, you have to have ambitions to be at the forefront,” explained Austria.
“This is also an update for a well-branded Formula 1. For Sebastian Vettel and his teammate Lance Stroll, this is the first fact study. It will also be interesting for me to watch Aston Martin. ”
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Aston Martin isn’t the only celebrity name returning to the grid for 2021, and so is the legendary Schumacher name, carried by Mick, the son of Michael Schumacher’s seven-time World Championship.
Unfortunately, the German rookie can’t be ignored, but Wolff insisted that Schumacher should be “left alone” for his “apprenticeship” year.
“Mick has to be left alone for a while, he has an apprenticeship year ahead of him,” he explained.
“He’s definitely rich for Formula 1, but you have to give him time to find his feet in this environment.”
And last but not least, Michael’s former title contestant, Fernando Alonso, is also returning with Alpine.
Away from Formula 1 the 39 – year – old has shown that his pace is still very much there, but after two years outside of Formula 1, how can he go against a grid so full of talent?
“The interesting thing here is a comparison between the very young teenagers, almost teenagers, and the 40-year-olds,” Wolff said.
“Fernando is one of the most talented drivers and one of the strongest fighters, he will be competitive. Alonso will want to show that he can still do it, I’m pretty sure of that. “
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