Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley has suggested that Ferrari will be an imposing presence amongst Formula 1’s leading fight in 2022.
Sweeping changes to the technical regulation will see a massive distinction between this year’s cars and those of 2021 as the ground effect returns and the tyres get bigger.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner have both previously suggested that the Scuderia will be in the fight for race wins this year, and Wheatley hopes to see a competitive title battle between multiple drivers following Max Verstappen’s title victory at the end of a titanic battle with Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2021.
“My idea of the perfect World Championship is the one where we win, obviously,” he said while speaking on the Jack Threlfall show.
“But I would like a bare-knuckle boxing fight from the first race to the last.
“I would like to have fighting every weekend. I’d like to see six to eight drivers capable of winning a race and it all comes down to who can string a championship together over 23 races.
“Who can make the fewest mistakes and who can put the most competitive car down on most weekend and who can capitalise on those strategic calls at the last minute.”
However, the Briton’s bias does of course lead him to a desire for dominance this upcoming season.
“Don’t get me wrong, it would be great to dominate and win 23 races all year,” he quipped.
But he takes the most satisfaction out of a victory at the end of which the team’s energy is depleted.
“But my ideal world championship is one where you’re exhausted at the end of the year but you’ve achieved something extraordinary.”
With regards the performance of Red Bull’s rivals next season, the 54-year-old has cottoned on to “snippets of information” surrounding the chances of success for those competing with the Milton Keynes-based squad.
“I think it’s very difficult to predict at this point,” he said.
“You only have your own references compared with last year’s car. You can get snippets of information from other teams but you don’t know if they’re telling you the truth or they’re just trying to make you worried.
“You just have to look at your own office desk and do the best job you possibly can.”
Continuing, Wheatley said he recognises the progress Ferrari has made, particularly on its power unit, and he expects the Scuderia to be strong in 2022.
“Ferrari, certainly their power unit, looked to be very strong at the end of the year. They were clearly the third-fastest team at the end of the year,” he said.
“They’ve got a great driver line-up as well. I wasn’t sure whether they would gel together as drivers but they seem to have done that.
“I think Ferrari are going to be the big unknown or possibly the big threat this year.”
Ferrari ended the 2021 Constructors’ Championship third, while Red Bull narrowly missed out on their fifth teams’ crown to Mercedes despite Max Verstappen’s dramatic Drivers’ Championship success.