Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner expects Mercedes to be a serious contender at this weekend’s French Grand Prix following a “pretty decent” run of form.
Mercedes has shown a resurgence after its early season struggles when it was plagued by severe bouncing on its W13 F1 car, scoring a podium finish at the last three races.
This upturn in performance came despite the Brackley-based outfit bracing itself to be off the pace at the recent Austrian Grand Prix as it felt the circuit would not favour its car.
Team boss Toto Wolff has been left upbeat about his team’s progress of late, believing it is only missing between two and three tenths to F1’s frontrunners Red Bull and Ferrari.
And with the Paul Ricard Circuit tipped to suit Mercedes’ package, Horner is backing them to be a threat this weekend having appeared to have cured its porpoising issues.
“We’ll expect them to be quick in [Paul] Ricard,” Horner said, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “They’re showing flashes of being there or thereabouts.
“The last two races have been pretty decent for them and there’s been no sign I think of any porpoising at all, so they seem to be slowly bringing themselves back into the game.”
While Mercedes is yet to win a race in 2022, its strong reliability record and improved form means it is threatening to take points off rivals Red Bull and Ferrari in this year’s title fight.
Horner reckons Mercedes could give the championship protagonists a major headache if it starts to regularly be at the sharp end of the grid.
“I think they’ll be a contender,” Horner said. “They keep consistently scoring points.
“I’m not sure how far off they are in the constructors’ or drivers’ [championships] at the moment, but you know, sometimes having more cars in play is a good thing. Sometimes it might be a bad thing.
“But I think for the fans it is great to have six cars, competing for victories.”