Ricciardo: Mercedes actually increased gap in 2015

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Ferrari felt they had closed the gap to Mercedes over the course of the 2015 Formula One season and by all appearances, they did. They still believe they are a ways away from really taking the fight to the Silver Arrows and are hoping to make good use of their development skills over the winter and in to the 2016 season.

There is the notion that Mercedes actually had pace in hand and may not have been showing all it had in 2015 and that’s a worrisome thought. To that point, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo says that Mercedes is still the team to beat and actually increased their gap in 2015.

“How far are they ahead? Too far,” said Ricciardo.

“I honestly think they increased the gap this year, and obviously Ferrari caught up a little bit.

“But when [Mercedes] really wanted to turn it on, they could. They’ll still be the team to beat next year and they will be hard to beat, but hopefully it doesn’t go on too much longer.”

Worrisome indeed and one can only hope that this comment is contextually speaking as it pertains to the gap to Red Bull last year using a slower Renault engine. If he means they made gains on the entire field, then that’s a different story and I’m not sure the Ferrari delta to Mercedes would always bear that out unless Merc was holding back and Ricciardo got glimpses of their pace in certain sectors or corners.

Renault will be supplying Red Bull an engine for 2016 and it remains to be seen just how much that power unit will be developed over the winter with the available development tokens. Ricciardo says he feels they will do better than 2015 but he’s trying to set the right expectations.

The fact is, Ferrari may not be keen to change the engine regulations for 2017 but if Mercedes has made even more progress and are holding some back, perhaps a complete rules change would suit them better than slogging out the next four years trying to claw back pace on Mercedes. The debate over the engines is a major issue that will linger on into 2016 and in the mean time, it may be happening during another dominant year and fourth title for Lewis Hamilton and the season hasn’t even begun yet. Anything can happen and perhaps someone will have an answer for the boys from Stuttgart.

Hat Tip: Motorsport

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Paul KieferJr

I have no idea what Ricciardo is seeing, because Ferrari’s with them, and Red Bull’s falling behind with that Renault engine.

Boycottthebull

In real terms Ferrari has merely supplanted Red Bull and took 3 wins away from Mercedes. His reference to a gap increase to Mercedes is in reference to the overall percentage points and front row lock out statistics are even greater than last year. The gap has increased overall. While Ferrari has improved from their flop of last year all they have really done is swap with Red Bull in the standings rather than challenged Mercedes.

Paul KieferJr

I had actually predicted that Ferrari would have two wins (so, one more than projected, a plus). So maybe it’s Merc holding station with Red Bull and Ferrari trading places.

Meine Postma

I think Ricciardo is right, when Lewis and Nico were fighting in the last race they pulled a big gap to the rest.