Red Bull believe Ferrari ‘will be back’ in 2022

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez [Red Bull] and Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] battle at the Italian GP. September 2021.

Sergio Perez [Red Bull] and Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] wheel-to-wheel during the Italian Grand Prix. September 2021.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expects Ferrari to be challenging at the top of Formula 1 again in 2022.

Alongside Mercedes, both Ferrari and Red Bull had been considered front-running teams in the turbo-hybrid era, until 2020 as power unit issues contributed to a plunge into the lower midfield order for Ferrari.

Now though, the Scuderia are rebuilding and already 2021 has been a marked improvement with two pole positions and three podium finishes putting them in a battle with McLaren for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship.

The next stage then is for Ferrari to rejoin Mercedes and Red Bull in the hunt for consistent wins – something Horner expects the Italian outfit to achieve in 2022.

“It’s a big team with two very good drivers [Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz] and I expect them to be a contender from next year,” Horner told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Their performance has improved, the engine too and they have a new power unit coming. They will be back.”

Of course, the order for 2022 could differ greatly from 2021, with teams working under a budget cap to develop the redesigned cars for next season.

And so Horner said there can be no room for mistakes, as undoing them would be extremely challenging.

“You start from a blank sheet of paper, some might interpret the rules better than others. It will be fascinating to watch the first part of next season,” he said.

“With the budget cap, if you take the wrong direction it is very difficult to recover. We mustn’t make mistakes.”

Max Verstappen with the Monza kerbs. Italy September 2021
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen puts in a lap with the distinct Monza kerbs on display. Italy September 2021

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The new rules for 2022 are the first major change in Formula 1’s model for the future, and the next stage is the power units with new versions set to arrive in 2025 or 2026.

Porsche and Audi are known to be part of the talks, and Horner said the engines must help ensure Formula 1 remains a spectacle to keep interest in the series.

Horner pointed to Formula E’s struggles as proof that Formula 1 needs to “maintain a clear purpose”.

“It’s good that other big companies are interested in entering F1. It means this category is still attractive,” said Horner. “Whereas in Formula E we see the opposite phenomenon, because many are leaving.

“Whatever engine we have in 2025/2026 has to sound good and entertain because F1 is about spectacle.

“Electric racing has not broken through. Grand prix, on the contrary, must maintain a clear purpose.”