Red Bull head to Australia as favourites

Wednesday 13th March 2013, 07:59 by TF1T Staff 

Red Bull Racing, Getty Images

Red Bull might have appeared to struggle during the final pre-season test, finishing just 12th and 14th in the combined timesheets, but they remain favourites heading the opening race.

Both Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali expect the triple world champions to once again set the pace.

"I very recently spoke to Stefano, who was in London to see me, and he said that he still expects Red Bull to be the danger for them," the 82-year-old told the official F1 website.

"I agree: they are - and they are super competitive," he added. "And from Red Bull’s point of view their biggest competitor will be Ferrari."

Former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore is also confident in Red Bull's performance.

"Webber tells me he will start very strongly," said Briatore who is the Australian's manager.

"He said the tests have been fruitful and that the RB9 is very good."

In addition, Ecclestone is certain Mercedes will win races with Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel.

"First, in the tests they [Mercedes] have shown that they are much more competitive than in previous times. When I spoke with them about taking Lewis I said if you take him you get the right sort of people because they think they are joining a winning team now.

"Niki and Toto - that looks good, so I am sure that they will be competitive. I would be hugely surprised if they don’t win races - on merit and not for other reasons!"

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