Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes that Mercedes will be the favourites for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the all-new Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Having been closely matched throughout the 2021 season, Mercedes and Red Bull are separated by just five points in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the final two rounds, with Saudi Arabia hosting its first-ever F1 race next weekend.
Meanwhile, Max Verstappen’s lead in the Drivers’ standings has been reduced to eight points following Lewis Hamilton’s back-to-back victories in Brazil and Qatar.
“Both championships are fully in play”
Horner reckons the fast, flowing nature of the Jeddah street track will play to Mercedes’ strengths, though is not so sure about Abu Dhabi, with the Yas Marina Circuit undergoing several changes ahead of this year’s race.
“It’s gonna be tight,” Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com.
“The next track arguably should favour Mercedes. Abu Dhabi, with the modifications made there, who knows?
“We go into these last races eight points in the lead in the Drivers’ Championship and we’ve reduced the lead in the Constructors’ to five points, so both are fully in play.
“It’s fantastic because we’re now at the climax of this World Championship.”
Horner still expecting Abu Dhabi showdown
Given the way the season has ebbed and flowed, Horner still expects both championships to go down to the wire.
“I think we’ve been around the world over the last three weekends and we’ve pretty much finished where we started with the points difference,” added Horner.
“It’s incredibly close. Mercedes have got a very quick car at moment. In Mexico, the pendulum was with us, in Austin, there was nothing to choose between the two.
“I’m glad to be taking in an eight-point advantage into the next race and we’ve just got to do the best that we can to maximise our chances.
“I said from very beginning of this championship, I think it’ll go all the way to Abu Dhabi, and I haven’t changed my opinion yet.”