Ex-Ferrari and McLaren engineer predicts fight for title amid Red Bull problems

Joan Villadelprat can't see how the runaway leaders can keep up their momentum due to their cost cap penalties

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Former Ferrari, McLaren and Benetton engineer Joan Villadelprat believes Red Bull will have to fight to win the Formula 1 title this season.

The reigning champions have started 2023 in sublime style, winning all five races so far by considerable margins, with Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin all struggling to hang onto the RB19 in race trim.

But Villadelprat expects the Milton Keynes-based team to start struggling soon as the penalties from their cost cap debacle begin to take effect.

“We are facing a brilliant start to the year,” Villadelprat told Relevo. “Although people may believe that this has already been done and that Red Bull is going to win, it is not so easy, because Red Bull has a penalty of 10 million euros less than the rest of the participants and less wind tunnel and CFD time.

“All this, at some point, not now perhaps, but at some point, because the championship is very long, it will have an influence.

“They are going to have to stop, there will come a time when they cannot continue developing the car and all this is going to affect them.

“It is clear that towards the middle and the final part of the championship, everyone is going to compact. We are going to see what Mercedes brings to the next Grand Prix, that they are going to have a fairly renovated car and if Ferrari gets its act together once and for all.

“And we have the brilliant spectacle of Aston Martin, which was the one that nobody expected to be where it is.”

Anything to stop Red Bull

Villadelprat also thinks teams have only just started complaining about Red Bull due to the fact that they are winning and can’t seem to be reeled in no matter what the other teams try.

“I think a lot of things are going to happen.,” he added. “I don’t see it so clearly that Red Bull is going to take the championship with the cap.

“People talk about Red Bull when we have spent five years with Mercedes with the best engine and nobody said anything. Sometimes I don’t understand things.

“Nobody complained and now, because they have two championships and they are on course for a third [title], it seems that the world is ending and something has to be done.”

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