The 2014 ‘silly season’ may be hogging the headlines, but arguably more important is the imminent battle for this year’s world title.
After his dominance from pole in Hungary, many believe Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is now a real challenger to Sebastian Vettel’s clear points lead.
Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, however, is not so sure.
“Lewis is always special in Budapest,” the Australian is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
“So I wouldn’t read too much into it in terms of how Mercedes is going.
“You have to look at how consistent Lotus is,” said Webber, referring to the fact that Kimi Raikkonen is actually closest to Vettel in terms of points.
“Mercedes and Ferrari are more up and down,” the veteran added.
Many question, however, if Lotus can keep up its form, given the superior resources of the title rivals, and the fact a smaller team risks seriously compromising its 2014 programme if it continues to intensely develop its 2013 car.
Webber said: “Because we have the best infrastructure, we can delay the complete move from 2013 to 2014 the longest. Whoever knows Adrian Newey knows that he does not give up.
“He’s also used to dealing with the coming season later than the others,” he added.
It is for that reason that, realistically, Red Bull’s rivals will make one final development push this year and then assess if sticking with 2013 still makes sense.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso agrees: “The next four races will be crucial.
“Spa is medium downforce, at Monza you run with minimum downforce, and Singapore is maximum (downforce).
“After that we will know where we stand,” he said.
© RIF | GMM