Red Bull Driver Daniel Ricciardo looks ahead to the 2017 season to see who’s closest to catching Mercedes this time around.
2017 could mark the first year that a rival team catches Mercedes, who have reigned in the hybrid era. It’s true, that many of the new regulations that were implemented were done so to facilitate a more dynamic sport, but now that the teams are reaching the end of the pre-season tests, something akin to a pecking order is beginning to show up.
While we won’t know for sure until after qualifying in Australia, there is certainly enough data to extrapolate on. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo seems to second this, citing the performance of Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of how they stack up to the defending champs. Ricciardo commented on Red Bull’s performance after finishing his final testing day before the inaugural race:
“We certainly haven’t showed Ferrari’s pace yet, so if you put some markers down tonight, you would say Ferrari is the closest challenger [to Mercedes]. Ferrari is quick – they have been quick all test.
They’ve showed that on long runs as well. I don’t think we were quick today. We will have some answers for that.
At the moment, Ferrari look pretty close to Mercedes’ pace. Our true pace is closer but we’re not quite on their level. We can get there, but we’re not there yet. We’ve got it somewhere, but we still need to find it.” – Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo did manage nearly 130 laps with no issues during his last test at Barcelona, and with teammate Max Verstappen set to take to the track one last time before the end of the test, Red Bull will have to find their special sauce soon to ensure that they’re not just nipping at the heels of the leaders all season long. The team have already confirmed that both the Chassis of the RB13 and the Renault power-unit will be getting upgrades before lights out at Albert Park.