Adrian Newey is predicting a title fight similar to last season as both Red Bull and Ferrari emerge as the front-runners for the 2022 crown.
The dominance goes further still and of the 12 possible podium places this year, just three of them have been non-Red Bull and Ferrari drivers.
The emerging pattern is similar to the 2021 campaign when both Mercedes and Red Bull quickly established themselves as the title contenders, highlighted by the fact no other team won a race until the 11th grand prix of the season.
As such, Red Bull’s chief technology officer Adrian Newey admitted he expects a similar title fight this time round but with Ferrari in Mercedes’ place.
When asked on the F1 Nation podcast if he believed Red Bull had the fastest car following Verstappen’s win at Imola, the 63-year-old said it changes circuit by circuit.
“Yes probably today [we had the fastest car] but clearly in Melbourne we didn’t,” Newey said.
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“I think it’s going to be like last year between Mercedes and ourselves. Some of the circuits will favour one car and others will favour another. It’s so difficult to forecast.”
Newey was then asked if it would come down to who could develop at the quickest pace but he was quick to point out the limitations the cost cap causes.
“Development for sure is important but the other important factor this year is the cost cap,” he said.
“It means we have to develop within that restrictions so perhaps we’re making choices where things we might have introduced before, we wait for a bit longer and try to build up a bit of a package before we introduce it because we can’t afford to do what we used to do last year or years gone by where there would be something every race.”
Following a career at teams like Williams, McLaren and now Red Bull, Newey has built a reputation of one of the best engineers in the sport – but he recalled a moment during his time at Williams where he thought Frank Williams had insulted him.
“I remember Frank when I was at Williams saying he thought I was the most competitive person in Formula 1,” Newey said.
“I was in my early thirties at the time so I initially thought ‘oh that’s bit of an insult’ but I guess from Frank, that’s a real compliment.
“I love the design and engineering. It’s a design and human competition. There’s almost no other form of sport where you have this combination of man and machine.”