Former F1 star Gerhard Berger has tipped Red Bull Racing to rule the roost in the top flight for some time to come, arguing that design guru Adrian Newey is 'in a class of one' and that the Englishman's RB6 creation is so startlingly fast that 'they can make mistakes and still be ahead'.
Red Bull's challenger has indisputably been the class of the field in terms of out-and-out raw pace in F1 2010, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber between them securing pole position for eleven of the twelve grands prix to-date – seven for the German and four for the Australian, with six outright front row lock-outs to-boot.
However, a variety of mechanical and technical issues, questionable strategic decisions and a controversial and costly coming-together between the pair in Istanbul has seen to it that such devastating speed has yielded 'just' six victories, a comparatively poor return.
That means the energy drinks-backed outfit holds only a narrow lead in both world championships – with Webber a scant four points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' standings, and RBR eight ahead of McLaren-Mercedes in the constructors' chase – but Berger claims the team has such a margin of superiority that it can afford to make mistakes, and that as such it is the favourite not only for this year's crown but also those over the upcoming seasons.
“Aerodynamics are now the lifeblood of a F1 car,” the ten-time grand prix-winner – a close friend of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz and a man who ran 'junior' operation Scuderia Toro Rosso from 2006 to 2008 – told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport
. “This is why I see them (Red Bull Racing) being at the front for the next few years.
“I always advised Mateschitz to go for Newey. At first I was a bit nervous because it didn't immediately work out; I think at the start he (Newey) was too distracted with management matters. Since he has concentrated on his specialty, he has shown he is in a class of one.
“The car is that good [that] they can make mistakes and still be ahead. Actually, they should be leading the world championship much more clearly. There are still many hidden mistakes. The fact that Red Bull – with all their giving away of points – are still ahead in the championship standings, clearly shows this car is in a class of its own.”
On arguably RBR's most contentious incident of the campaign thus far, finally – that
collision in Turkey that proved to be the catalyst for a distinct cooling of relations between Vettel and Webber – Berger insisted that had he been in Christian Horner's position, he would similarly always allow his two drivers to race it out between themselves, whatever the consequences and potential pitfalls.
“If I was the team boss of Red Bull I wouldn't do any differently, because it suits the brand,” the 50-year-old reflected, whilst conceding that McLaren has the easiest task of managing its line-up as '[Jenson] Button is not a troublemaker...he is happy with his world title, so McLaren have two drivers who they do not have to pay much attention to, to keep under control'.