The team has failed to win a race so far in July, but Red Bull remains the favourite for victory this weekend in Hungary.
That is the claim of triple world champion Niki Lauda, who said the energy drink-owned team is usually very fast on the many tight curves of the Hungaroring.
“If normal temperatures prevail, and if everything goes to plan, then yes — he (Sebastian Vettel) is the clear favourite,” the Austrian told APA news agency.
Lauda added that 24-year-old Vettel is “still clearly on course” for the 2011 title, despite Red Bull losing to Ferrari at Silverstone and then McLaren last weekend in Germany.
“He still has a big gap in the standings,” said Lauda. “He need not worry.”
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso agrees that the championship is still heading Red Bull’s way.
“We did very well in Britain, McLaren won in Germany, but Red Bull is always on the podium, if not with one driver then the other,” he is quoted by La Stampa newspaper.
“They are good on all circuits, so in Hungary they will be competitive. We are the ones who must make further progress,” added Alonso.
At McLaren there is a mix of confidence and trepidation, with Lewis Hamilton winning at the Nurburgring amid the suspicion the MP4-26 might revert to struggling in hotter temperatures.
“We might get to Hungary and be massively off because we might overheat our tyres,” he said.
Paradoxically, Ferrari is looking forward to better weather in Hungary.
“It should be a good race for us to be able to go on holiday after a formidable July,” predicted test driver Marc Gene in El Mundo newspaper.
Hamilton is pushing for a better ‘DRS’ rear wing system for his McLaren, with boss Martin Whitmarsh telling Auto Motor und Sport it will not be ready until Spa after the summer break.
“We don’t have a DRS as efficient as the others,” Hamilton said. “That’s what we need to work on.”
Whitmarsh, meanwhile, thinks McLaren and Ferrari need to unite to combat their common enemy.
“Ferrari is in the same situation as us; we need each other to take points off Red Bull,” the Briton is quoted by Corriere dello Sport.