Mar.10 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Mercedes’ utter dominance of formula one in the ‘power unit’ era could finally be over.
That is the view of former driver turned pundit Marc Surer, even though many other experts believe the German team cannily sandbagged throughout the winter season.
Asked if Mercedes will therefore dominate again in 2016, Surer told the German source T-Online: “I hope not.
“There are signs that this total dominance by Mercedes is over. Firstly, Ferrari has caught up some more. Secondly, the tyres could play an important role this year and it will definitely help Ferrari,” said the Swiss.
He explains: “Ferrari always had the problem of not bringing the tyres up to temperature, but they can compensate now with these softer compounds.”
And Surer also questions the wisdom of Mercedes’ apparent winter season ‘sandbagging’, for instance by not even trying Pirelli’s all-new ‘ultra soft’.
“I don’t understand why they did that,” he said. “It could backfire on them.
“We have seen many times in the past that a team can struggle to cope with a particular tyre compound.”
But there have been rumours that, after leading the field in 2014 and 2015, Mercedes has stepped forward even more with its 2016 power unit, perhaps even nudging close to the 1,000hp barrier.
“I think that’s an exaggeration,” said Surer. “The most you can squeeze out of the turbo is 700hp. Then the 160 from energy recovery makes 860.
“Then there are the grey areas, in which Mercedes is particularly strong. My guess is that they have come to around 900hp. But I hope Ferrari is now reaching a similar level.”