Former Formula 1 driver Perry McCarthy has every belief that new world champion Max Verstappen can defend his championship in 2022.
Verstappen claimed his first F1 world championship in dramatic fashion last season when he passed Sir Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
All told, his Red Bull team won 11 races in 2021 between himself and team-mate Sergio Perez as the Milton Keynes-based squad narrowly missed out on their fifth Constructors’ Championship success to Mercedes, who claimed their record eighth consecutive.
Formula 1’s technical regulations are changing next season, in a move that will see a reduction in the volume and size of aerodynamic components.
McCarthy previously told this publication that the reduced scope for aerodynamic proficiency might affect Red Bull next year, given the genius innovations of designer Adrian Newey that have helped them thrive in previous seasons.
The 60-year-old believes that a complete failure to build a good car will cost Verstappen, but even if Red Bull fall slightly behind Mercedes the 24-year-old can still offset the disadvantage.
“If any team really get it wrong across the winter, then most drivers can’t make up that difference,” he told Formula1News.co.uk.
“If they got it wrong by just a little bit, maybe somebody like Max can make up that difference. But I can’t really see Red Bull getting it too wrong.”
The 60-year-old recently told this publication that great world champions of the past have all emanated supreme confidence, and he affirms that this radiates throughout the entire team.
“The thing that we were just talking about, about driver confidence, it really filters all the way down to the team management, the engineers, the designers, you know, they’ve got that confidence,” he explained.
“And they’re still led by Adrian [Newey], who may still be the most successful designer still on the grid, because he’s had World Championships for Williams, for McLaren and obviously, Red Bull.
“So, you know, he’s a genius. They’ve got that they got their confidence going for them.”
The former Andrea Moda driver emphasises that the design philosophy will not be entirely distinct from 2021, and therefore is confident that Red Bull can still provide Verstappen with a competitive car.
“Given it’s not going to be 100 percent change in cars, is it? You know, there’s a lot of carryover from last year into this year,” he said.
“So I can’t see any reason why they’re not going to be right at the front. And of course, with Max, they’ve got that final, incredibly important point, which is a brilliant racing driver inside that seat.”
Due to the controversial nature of the finish to last year’s title fight, it has been rumoured that Hamilton will leave F1 ahead of the 2022 season, with team principal Toto Wolff previously indicating that he and Hamilton are “disillusioned” with the sport.
The Briton believes that a retirement for the seven-time champion is “possible,” but hopes that he remains at Mercedes and joins what may be a multi-team fight in 2022.
“I’m hoping that Lewis can come back mentally strong because, you know, if I do tune in with no more last lap decisions by stewards or the race director, then, then all we’re looking at is a brilliant season, but we want to see some other talent with the opportunity now,” said McCarthy.
“Carlos [Sainz], Charles Leclerc, obviously George Russell has got the opportunity in the top car, Lando [Norris] in the McLaren. We stand the chance of seeing some great races. So let’s hope the 2022 regs get more people closer together.”
Red Bull will lose Honda as an engine supplier for 2022 but have bought their intellectual assets, allowing them to manufacture their own powertrains from this season.
Honda’s F1 chief Masashi Yamamoto has told the team know that the Japanese company will be more than happy to advise during 2022.
The new season starts on 20 March in Bahrain following two pre-season tests in Barcelona and Sakhir.
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