• Red Bull

Horner expects Mercedes to extend advantage in 2015

ESPN Staff
November 28, 2014 « Don't underestimate Honda's technological muscle - Arai | Hamilton and Rosberg truce won't last in 2015 - Wolff »
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Christian Horner is worried Mercedes will extend its gap to the rest of the field next year and believes Red Bull's engine supplier Renault will do well just to catch up with this year's iteration of the Mercedes power unit.

Out in the cold

  • Red Bull and Ferrari have argued for a 'thaw' in the regulations which currently prevent in-season development after engine homologation at the start of the year. Meanwhile, Mercedes argue that lifting the engine freeze would result in increased costs at a time when F1 is already overspending. With both sides putting their own interests first, an agreement seems impossible for next year, which has pushed the debate towards 2016. The 2016 regulations are not yet set and therefore only need a majority agreement to bring about significant change. As a result, Horner is now pushing for simplified versions of the current V6 turbos in two years' time, which he claims would cut costs and level the playing field.

In the first season of the new V6 turbo power units, Mercedes dominated the sport with 16 wins from 19 races and both drivers' and constructors' titles. Much of its success stemmed from the design of its power unit and Horner has led a push to lift the in-season development freeze on engines to allow rival manufacturers another opportunity to catch up.

Over the close season the manufacturers are allowed to spend a limited amount of 'tokens' to modify their power units, but Horner - who is currently at loggerheads with Mercedes over lifting the freeze - has warned that his rivals will only pull away.

"We are not writing off next year, but for sure the gap that there is, and with the performance gains that Mercedes are bringing next year, it's going to be a massive challenge to reduce that," he said. "If you believe the numbers that are floating around, the gap could grow rather than diminish. That would be rather depressing if that were the case."

Asked what he expected of Renault, Horner added: "They can make an in-road but I think it would be unlikely to match this year's engine. I think they can get closer to it but of course Mercedes aren't going to stand still. I think Ferrari are probably in a very similar situation. That's very tough when the engines are frozen at the end of February."

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