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Berger concedes Merc looking good

2014-02-20 09:04

BACK TO THE GARAGE - AGAIN: F1 driver Sebastian Vettel and his 2014 Red Bull race car are pushed into the garage during testing at Sakhir, Bahrain, on February 19 2014. Image: Hasan Jamalim AP

SAKHIR, Bahrain - Former Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger, famously close to the Red Bull team's inner circle, has conceded that Mercedes is favourite to win the 2014 season.

World champion Red Bull, powered by Renault, is in a technical crisis with its 2014 car while Mercedes is off to a flying start in the revolutionary new V6 era.

Austrian Berger, who once co-owned the Toro Rosso team with Red Bull, told Germany's Sport Bild: "I'm not surprised that Mercedes has built the best engine."

'GOING SMOOTHLY'

He predicted 2014 would ultimately be "a struggle between the genius of Adrian Newey and Sebastian Vettel against Mercedes technology" but saw a glimmer of hope for Red Bull. "In 1989 at Ferrari," he pointed out, "we managed three laps pre-season but my team mate Nigel Mansell won the first race."

Driver Lewis Hamilton believed Mercedes' pre-season testing  was going smoothly. "It's very difficult to know where we are in terms of performance," the Briton said in Bahrain on Wednesday, "but in terms of reliability we are in front."

Renault Sport's engineering chief Remi Taffin did not want to comment when asked about Mercedes' apparent dominance so far in 2014. "It would be a waste of time to be looking at what they're doing (now)," he was quoted as saying by Italiaracing.

"If we are in a position to beat them, then we will look at them."
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