Mercedes F1 Trackside Engineering Director James Vowles says “remaining races are going to get tougher” for the team.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff recently said the team has shifted focus from their 2020 car to the development of their 2021 car. This means rival teams will have more of a chance to catch up by the end of the season.
Mercedes chief trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin confirms Red Bull is closing in on Mercedes.
“Red Bull are closer to us and in qualifying, Lewis and Max both did their best times in Q2,” said Shovlin.
“If you look at everyone’s best times, it’s very, very close. Valtteri just put together a brilliant lap when it actually counted.
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“They’ve been closing on us over the course of the year. Definitely the changes in the engine mode to stop the qualifying modes have brought them a step closer.
“I think they are developing quicker than we are at the moment and we’ve seen that progressively.
“But to be honest, we’ve seen that in most of the recent years, they tend to not start as strongly as we do. I can’t really think of a year recently where they’ve not been with us by the end.
“If we see that trend continue, then the remaining races are going to get tougher and it will be harder to try and keep getting the cars on pole on Saturday and winning on Sunday.”