Marko predicts similar 2022 front-runners barring ‘golden shot’

Dr Helmut Marko expects Mercedes and Red Bull to lead the F1 pack in 2022 unless another team produces a "golden shot".

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton race in the 2021 season finale.v1

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has said it will take something special to prevent Red Bull and Mercedes being the top dogs again in 2022.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen claimed his maiden F1 world title in 2021, while Red Bull missed out to Mercedes on the Constructors’ Championship. This was the first time that the two titles have been split between two different teams since 2008.

Formula 1 enters a new era in 2022, with major regulation changes meaning that the cars will look and feel very different to the last five seasons.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has stated that the new cars will be “less agile” than before, while McLaren driver Lando Norris said the new cars are “not as nice to drive”.

READ: Ex-F1 champion claims Horner-Wolff rivalry is a ‘front’

Dr Marko reckons that Red Bull are extremely close to Mercedes pace-wise, and thinks it will be a familiar story next season.

Helmut Marko and Christian Horner.v1

“At the moment, we believe that we are almost on a par with Mercedes,” the Austrian said.

The 78-year-old went on to suggest that it would take a “golden shot” to disrupt Mercedes and Red Bull as the top two teams next year.

“We believe that we are both at the front again, unless someone manages a golden shot like with the double diffuser.”

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The Austrian confirmed that Verstappen has been doing some work on the simulator, and insists that the 24-year-old has no problem driving a car that does not handle quite so well.

“Max drove in the simulator in between races. He can drive a car that is relatively unstable in the rear. For him, the car has to be as fast as possible, [so] it doesn’t have to be comfortable.”

Verstappen won 10 races en route to the championship in 2021, and will again partner Sergio Perez at Red Bull next year.

Mercedes, meanwhile, will line up with George Russell alongside Hamilton, having dropped Valtteri Bottas (who will join Alfa Romeo next year.)

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