Jonathan Wheatley says that whilst it is hard to predict the running order for the 2022 teams due to the huge change in aero regulations heading into the new season, he does believe Scuderia Ferrari could be a dark horse this year.
Wheatley, the sporting director at Red Bull Racing, believes the Italian outfit could be one to watch, particularly if the rumours of improvements and big gains to their power units is proven to be true.
Ferrari also switched their full attention to designing their 2022 challenger – the F1-75 – earlier than Red Bull did, mainly fact to the Milton Keynes-based outfit were involved in a titanic battle with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team in 2021 for both World Championship titles.
“I think it’s very difficult to predict at this point. You only have your own references compared with last year’s car,” Wheatley said to The Jack Threlfall Show. “You can get snippets of information from other teams, but you don’t know if they are telling you the truth or just trying to make you worried.
“Basically, you have to look at your own office desk and you have to do the best job you possibly can with that. Ferrari, certainly the power unit, looked very strong at the end of the year. They were clearly the third fastest team at the end of the year.
“They’ve got a great driver line-up as well. I wasn’t sure about whether they would gel together as drivers but they seem to have done that very well.
“I think Ferrari will be the big unknown, or possibly the big threat this year.”
Wheatley says that whilst he would obviously like one of his drivers to win the World Championship in 2022, he hopes the new regulations open up the possibility of more drivers fighting for wins and podiums this year.
“My idea of the perfect World Championship is the one we win, obviously!” said Wheatley. “But I would like a bare-knuckle boxing fight from the first race to the last. I would like to have fighting every weekend.
“I would like to see six, eight drivers capable of winning a race and it all comes down to who can string a championship together over 23 races. Who can make the fewest mistakes? Who can put the most competitive car down on the most weekends? Who can capitalise on those strategic calls at the last minute?
“Don’t get me wrong, it would be great to dominate, win 23 races a year! But my ideal championship is one when you are exhausted at the end of the year but you’ve achieved something extraordinary.”