Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claims that underestimating any team would be a mistake heading into the upcoming season. The Briton feels as though the regulation changes have made it hard to predict who will come out on top.
The 2022 regulations will significantly change the way cars handle due to aerodynamic differences. Further, there are changes being made to the bodywork in addition to the 18-inch Pirelli tires. Teams such as Ferrari, McLaren and Alpine are already looking to challenge those at the top due to these significant changes.
It is then no surprise that Christian Horner feels that it would be foolish to underestimate any of these teams based on their performances in 2021. The Briton claims that while it is probable that the big teams will be at the top of the table, it is impossible to predict the order. Horner told RacingNews365:
"I think it's probable that the big teams will be at the front. Which order they'll be in is difficult to predict."
"It's the same group of people that were designing last year's car that designed this year's car, so it's how you deal with a problem, how you interpret regulations, and the creativity of the group that differentiates them."
"It will be interesting to see what our competitors [do], but I think it'd be foolish to underestimate any of the teams with such a big regulation change."
The Red Bull team principal highlighted the challenge posed by the new budget cap
The 2022 season has a budget cap of $140 million, $5 million less than 2021. While this amount might seem like a ludicrous amount to the layman, it poses a significant challenge to F1 teams, who need to put every cent to use if they want to get the jump on their rivals.
Christian Horner highlighted Red Bull's challenge with developing a competent car with a stricter budget. He said:
"The big challenge for 2022 is that one, the budget is reduced by five million, and two, every component is different, is brand-new. A new chassis, a new steering wheel, new pedals, new suspension – new everything!"
"That obviously carries a considerable cost with it. It's not a cheap car, from what we've seen so far, in terms of construction, so that, inevitably, will be putting all teams under [pressure]. I believe every single team in the paddock is at the budget cap limit for this year."
Red Bull won the drivers' title with Max Verstappen but failed to beat Mercedes in the constructors' trophy. The German team won their eighth consecutive constructors' trophy in 2021, besting Red Bull having built a far superior car. Fans can hope the intense rivalry continues into 2022 with Verstappen and Hamilton at the helm of their respective wheels.