Ferrari may have finished P2 in 2022’s Championship but Helmut Marko believes Mercedes are the ones to be feared in 2023.
The Italian outfit emerged as the early frontrunner for the 2022 crown before reliability and strategy errors saw their title bid fall away in dramatic fashion.
This allowed Red Bull to disappear over the horizon, securing both Championships with races to spare, but there is no guarantee they will enjoy such an easy time of it during the 2023 season.
With a month to go before the cars are unveiled, there are currently three teams said to be in the running: Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
Of those candidates, it is Mercedes that Red Bull’s Marko has warned his team to be most wary of.
“I would say that we should fear Mercedes more,” Marko said, as per Autosport.
“Mainly because they have an advantage over Ferrari in terms of strategy and reliability.”
Red Bull won 2022 by 205 points which will have pleased the team’s higher ups considering it was the first season of a new set of regulations.
Team boss Christian Horner suggested as much, saying it was “amazing” what the team had been able to do with the 2022 regulations despite being the last team to switch focus on them but Marko is not expecting a Mercedes style dominance from his team in the next few years.
“Our situation is certainly not like that of Mercedes at the beginning of the hybrid era,” the 79-year-old said.
“We don’t have an immense lead with the engine right now. So that is very different. Mercedes had at least 50bhp margin over all the others back then.
“And we shouldn’t forget: 2022 has been the first year under this new set of regulations. Other teams have obviously seen what we have done with this year’s car.
“So I think it will definitely be much closer next season.”
Mercedes and Red Bull represent the safest bet for success if only because they are the only two teams not to have gone through major changes since the 2022 season.
With Toto Wolff, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton alongside Horner, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, both teams have the same driver and team principal line-up as they did going into 2022.
In comparison, AlphaTauri, Aston Martin, Haas and Alpine have all changed one of their drivers. Ferrari and Alfa Romeo have both had a change in management and McLaren and Williams have changed one driver and their team principal.