Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff says Red Bull will be more of a threat in 2021 compared to last year. Wolff is looking to lead Mercedes to an eighth consecutive drivers' and constructors' title but he thinks Red Bull's new driver line-up will give the defending champions problems.
Sergio Perez replaced Alexander Albon at Red Bull after an underwhelming year for the Thai driver. Perez joins the team having had his best season in his F1 career so far, despite testing positive for coronavirus forcing him to miss two races. The Mexican finished fourth in the drivers' standings, picking up his maiden Formula 1 victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
"I think Red Bull with Perez will be a much stronger opponent in the Constructors Championship," said Wolff to Austrian television network ORF. "I rate Perez very highly, it will be interesting to see how Perez holds up against Verstappen."
The most significant technical changes for the upcoming season, which begins in Bahrain on March 28, is a new tyre construction from Pirelli, the introduction of the budget cap and adjustments to the rear floor of the cars which should slow the cars down by 1-2 seconds. This season is also set to be Honda's final year as an engine manufacturer with Red Bull.
"It's going to be a season with the same equipment as last year. I think Honda will really push hard to compete for the title in their last factory year, therefore it will be interesting," continued Wolff who recently contracted COVID-19.
"The team is working flat out to get the cars ready. The recent development steps for the season opener are still happening now. We are working on our sponsorships and other things, so it's business as usual."