Former F1 race winner David Coulthard reckons Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes will be able to give Red Bull Racing a run for their money next season, even if the Milton Keynes-based outfit will again start as favourites.
Red Bull have been the standard setters in recent seasons and took both titles again in 2014, with four-time F1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel taking a remarkable nine wins in succession in the second half of the year.
Despite that dominance, however, DC believes nothing is set in stone: “Red Bull start next season as favourites. No question. They are at the peak of their game. They have a stable management, the best designer, loads of money and a quadruple world champion driver,” the Scot told British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph
. “That said, they can be knocked off their perch.
“Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes are not there to make up the numbers. They have deep pockets, too, and with the biggest regulation changes in a generation coming up in 2014, the opportunity is there for someone to swoop in.”
Asked if the new rules will produce 'exciting' racing, Coulthard replied: “This is a big question and one to which no one knows the answer. I have been through engine regulation changes before but nothing quite as dramatic as next season's switch to 1.6-litre turbos allied to vastly more potent energy recovery systems.
“Some fans are worried that it might become an 'efficiency' formula rather than an 'all-out racing' formula but let's wait and see. I think there may be some reliability issues at first but as teams get used to the new power units, we will see them push harder and harder.”
As for if Lewis Hamilton can come good, Coulthard believes he is more than capable of taking a second title.
“Lewis Hamilton is a world-class driver and I have seen nothing to suggest that he is incapable of adapting [to the new rules]. His win in Hungary proved that he could work the tyres, drive quickly and sensibly, and claim wins in this formula,” DC continued.
“[Nic] Rosberg has proved a handful for him – perhaps more than many people expected – and the German enjoys the mental challenge of this new style of racing.
“But I am sure that if Mercedes give Lewis a car with which he is comfortable, he can win his second title,” he concluded.