David Coulthard fires warning at Red Bull and Mercedes over Ferrari 2023 chances

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David Coulthard told Mirror Sport he "believes" in Ferrari to challenge for the F1 titles again in 2023 (Image: Daily Record)
David Coulthard told Mirror Sport he "believes" in Ferrari to challenge for the F1 titles again in 2023 (Image: Daily Record)

Ferrari's 2022 title bid may have fell apart because the Italians were not used to being that position after a period of decline, David Coulthard has suggested.

The Italians started last season at blistering pace, winning two of the first three races as Red Bull suffered a few reliability issues. But just as their rivals resolved their problems, Ferrari began to suffer from engine gremlins of their own.

Several DNFs from engine blowouts, along with a couple of individual driver errors and a lengthy catalogue of team strategy blunders, saw the Scuderia's challenge crumble. Red Bull and Max Verstappen were left to run away with both titles unopposed in the second half of the season.

In a wide-ranging interview with Mirror Sport, Coulthard was asked for his theory on why things went so badly wrong for Ferrari. The Brit responded: "There might be an element of just not being match fit, having not operated at that level [for a while].

"Ferrari are the most famous name in Formula 1, and have been the longest running members so there might be an element of mass fatigue as well." But despite their failure in 2022, Coulthard is confident the Italians will be in the mix again in the coming campaign.

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The 13-time F1 race winner added: "I believe in Ferrari – not in the mystique but in the lap time. They've had the qualifying world championship [in 2022], and their car has been exceptional. Charles [Leclerc] was their lead driver for the majority of the year in terms of being able to exploit that performance and I do feel the car has been coming stronger towards the end of the year.

David Coulthard fires warning at Red Bull and Mercedes over Ferrari 2023 chancesCharles Leclerc will hope David Coulthard's prediction turns out to be correct (Getty Images)

"I believe in the drivers and that, because they've designed that car at that pace, they've got the right talent in the team to iron out the issues they have had. So, with all of that, Ferrari have got to be lined up for the championship in ‘23.

"Not based on it just being a red car with a prancing horse, but based on what they've got on their hands – a very fast Grand Prix car and two very fast and motivated drivers. So, in 2023, they have to be targeting the world championship and I think they can achieve their goals, if they can iron out the issues that are blatantly obvious to everyone.

"I would like to believe that we are going to have a three-way title battle next year. As strong as Max has been, we are where we are in the closing stages of the [2022] season which are the foundations of next year. So that, to me, feels like we're a lot closer than we were at the beginning of the year."

Daniel Moxon

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