Red Bull wary of Ferrari as ‘possibly the big threat’ in 2022

Michelle Foster
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’s sporting director Jonathan Wheatley is the latest to put forward Ferrari as a potential favourite, at least for the early part of the 2022 season.

With Red Bull and Mercedes having invested a lot of time and effort into last year’s championship fight, the title going down to the wire, it is thought that could open the door for a new team to emerge as this year’s one to beat.

That team, many are predicting, could be Ferrari.

While Red Bull devoted a lot of time to developing last year’s RB16B as they sought any advantage possible for Max Verstappen, Mercedes developed their W12 through to the summer break.

In sharp contrast, Ferrari stopped with their upgrades early in the season, focusing instead on their power unit and their 2022 car for the new technical regulations.

The Scuderia still managed to finish third ahead of McLaren, their updated engine credited for their late-season boost.

And it is that which has Wheatley predicting Ferrari are the team to keep an eye on.

Carlos Sainz's Ferrari ahead of Sergio Perez's Red Bull in sprint qualifying for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Interlagos November 2021.

“I think it’s very difficult to predict at this point. You only have your own references compared with last year’s car,” he told ‘The Jack Threlfall Show’ when asked about his 2022 predictions.

“You can get snippets of information from other teams, but you don’t know if they are telling you the truth or just trying to make you worried.

“Basically, you have to look at your own office desk and you have to do the best job you possibly can with that.

“Ferrari, certainly the power unit, looked very strong at the end of the year. They were clearly the third fastest team at the end of the year.

“They’ve got a great driver line-up as well. I wasn’t sure about whether they would gel together as drivers but they seem to have done that very well.

“I think Ferrari will be the big unknown, or possibly the big threat this year.”

Naturally Wheatley hopes when all is said and done for the 2022 season that Red Bull will have retained the World title, perhaps even have added the Constructors’ to their list.

But what the Briton really wants is “a bare-knuckle boxing fight” for the championships, one in which at least eight drivers are fighting for race wins.

“My idea of the perfect World Championship is the one we win, obviously!” said Wheatley.

“But I would like a bare-knuckle boxing fight from the first race to the last. I would like to have fighting every weekend.

“I would like to see six, eight drivers capable of winning a race and it all comes down to who can string a championship together over 23 races.

 

“Who can make the fewest mistakes? Who can put the most competitive car down on the most weekends? Who can capitalise on those strategic calls at the last minute?

“Don’t get me wrong, it would be great to dominate, win 23 races a year! But my ideal championship is one when you are exhausted at the end of the year but you’ve achieved something extraordinary.”