Mercedes ‘mildly optimistic’ it can catch Red Bull
SAO PAULO (AP) — Ross Brawn is confident Mercedes will make a run for the Formula One title next year even though he still expects Red Bull to remain strong.
The team principal said the engine changes in place for next year could play in favor of Mercedes, which made a commitment to next season’s car project almost two years ago.
“They (Red Bull) are very strong competitors. You can’t forget the things you know,” Brawn said. “The progress they’ve made in the second half of this season has been very impressive but it is shaken up a bit next year. We are a team similar to Ferrari where we do an engine and a chassis and I think that’s a significant benefit for next season.”
Brawn said it will be crucial to come up with a good engine-chassis combination from the start in 2014.
“The engine has been very much designed alongside the chassis to get the best integrated package,” Brawn said. “I think the engine is going to be one of the differentiators next year. I don’t think it’s going to be the only one but I think it’s much more significant than the engines have been the last few years. So, there is scope to be mildly optimistic that we can have a run next year.”
Mercedes enters Sunday’s season-ending Brazilian GP trying to hold on to second place in the constructors’ championship. Ferrari and Lotus still have a chance to move into second.
“I hope there’s more progress in the next few years because certainly our ambition is to win the championship, win the drivers’ and constructors’ (title),” Brawn said. “So second place would be a boost for everyone in the team, particularly as we came from fifth last year and I think the improvement in the performance of the car has been quite significant this year.”
Mercedes has 348 points ahead of Sunday’s race at Interlagos, more than double the 142 points it scored last year.
“It’s a substantial improvement over where we were and I think everyone can be pleased — or reasonably pleased — with that,” Brawn said. “Of course it’s not where we ultimately want to be, so we need to have a measured response if we’re able to finish second.”
Mercedes won three races this year — Nico Rosberg in England and Monaco and with Lewis Hamilton in Hungary.
Follow Tales Azzoni at http://twitter.com/tazzoni