MARCH 14, 2016
Ferrari gap down to mere tenths says Mercedes
Mercedes is getting specific amid its claims Ferrari has definitely closed the gap over the winter.
Silver-clad figures have been playing up Ferrari's chances of mounting a challenge this year, and now team chairman Niki Lauda is even willing to put a figure on it.
"It isn't Mercedes' fault if we've been faster the last two seasons," the F1 legend told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Our goal is to continue that but I think the gap has been reduced. Last season we had a 0.6 second advantage over Ferrari but they are closer this season. Our gap may come down to 0.2 so anything can happen," Lauda added.
Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team boss, agrees.
"Ferrari has definitely made a leap," he told the Austrian broadcaster ORF.
"Already from 2014 to 2015 they developed really well, and now they have continued that.
"If we have a head-start, it is not like it was last year -- we are talking about two, three tenths. Maybe just one," said Wolff.
Wolff was also quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Ferrari looks very good. From testing we saw some really interesting laps from them that show they are on the pace."
And driver Nico Rosberg said: "Ferrari has really improved, and I believe they will even bring an upgrade to Melbourne. We will have a real fight with them."
Asked by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag how many wins he is expecting the Maranello team to capture in 2016, Rosberg answered: "Lots. They are strong. Really strong."