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Former Red Bull driver Liuzzi: Mercedes have taken a gamble

Vitantonio Liuzzi believes Mercedes have taken a gamble, focusing mainly on the development of the 2022 car during the winter. As a result the flamboyant Italian believes there will be a nice battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in 2021. A battle that Hamilton would have preferred to avoid, according to Liuzzi.

Although he's no longer active on the grid, former Red Bull driver Vitantonio Liuzzi can still be found regularly in the F1 paddock, where he works as a race steward. As a result the Italian is up to date with all the latest Formula 1 news. All the more reason for RacingNews365.com to catch up with the 39-year old and get his thoughts on the upcoming season. Ciao Vitantonio, are you ready for a new F1 season?
 "Yes indeed, I can't wait for the season to start again. I will once again be present during a number of F1 races as a race steward this year and of course I am looking forward to that. By the way, I will be in action as a race steward more often. I recently worked at the first Formula E race of the season in Saudi Arabia." Are we going to see a great battle between Red Bull and Mercedes this season? 
"Looking back at the results of the test days in Bahrain, I think we can say that Red Bull have moved closer to Mercedes. Red Bull have really made a big leap forward. Still, I think Mercedes is the team to beat, but of course I expect and hope for a nice battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. By the way, I don't think Hamilton is looking forward to that fight, I think he would have preferred a season in which he would win his eighth title relatively easily." What makes Mercedes the favourites in your eyes?
 "They've obviously had an advantage over the rest of the field in recent years, so because of that they've retained just a bit of that lead. Still, Mercedes have taken a gamble by focusing on the 2022 car early. I get the feeling that they didn't spend a whole lot of time last winter developing the current car, but instead were mostly focused on next year's car. However, that does make it more interesting for us as fans of the sport."

Who will be the surprise of the season? "That's going to be McLaren, they've done a really great job and I'm confident they're going to do well. I think they will continue to develop during the season as well, so I am really looking forward to seeing how they will perform this year. In addition, AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo also made a strong impression on me during testing. In the case of AlphaTauri ,this is partly due to the Honda engine; the Japanese have made a big step forward. I think they want to leave Formula 1 at the end of the season with a good result and both AlphaTauri and Red Bull will benefit from that." What do you expect from Sergio Perez? "During the first years of his F1 career, Perez didn't really excite me I must say. However in recent years, and especially last season, he's left a strong impression and therefore I understand Red Bull's choice. Perez might be able to help the team just a bit further in the battle for the constructors' championship. Still, I don't expect him to be able to really put Verstappen under pressure as Max is the fastest driver on the grid. But as I said Perez will get the necessary points for the team. In addition, it was also necessary to replace Alexander Albon, as it didn't look like he was going to improve." Being Italian, of course we have to ask you about Ferrari. How will the Scuderia perform this season?
 "I feel that Ferrari have made some progress compared to 2020, but I don't see a competitive car that will fight for podiums just yet. Therefore, the Scuderia will have to fight to battle in the midfield this season. This is unfortunate for Charles Leclerc of course, because he is a great talent. Fortunately, he is still young and his time will surely come." Are we going to see you back in a racing class this year?
 "At the moment I haven't signed a contract yet, but I am looking around to get in somewhere. I enjoy racing and that's why I can often be found at the circuit, where I teach, and where I can continue to drive myself."

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