Bernie unsure Red Bull aero can close ‘huge’ Merc engine gap

© XPB 

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says he is not sure Red Bull’s aero proficiency will be enough to close what he calls a “huge” advantage for Mercedes on the engine front.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit will enter the 2017 campaign as the German manufacturer’s nearest challenger after enjoying a strong recovery season. With radical bodywork changes introduced, Red Bull has been tipped for a genuine title challenge this year.

But while 2017 will see sweeping regulation changes, F1 will continue to use the 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged power units that Mercedes has harnessed to a trio of consecutive world championship doubles.

“If Red Bull believes they can beat Mercedes thanks to better aerodynamics, well I'm not so sure about that,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying to German newspaper tz.” The advantage that Mercedes has on the engine remains huge.”

That said, the 86-year-old supremo thinks Red Bull’s driver line-up, and particularly Max Verstappen, can be a credible threat if their cars are not far off Mercedes’ pace.

[Max] is a future world champion,” Ecclestone added. “He is hungry for race wins and outperforming the car; he can push the limits better than others.”

GALLERY: F1 drivers' wives and girlfriends

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter