Executive director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Toto Wolff recently said that the current Formula 1 champions should be considered the “underdog” in the title fight with Scuderia Ferrari, but Nigel Mansell does not agree with the Mercedes boss, adding that the close battle will most likely continue until the end of the Formula 1 season:
“That is rhetoric, I don’t believe they’re underdogs. I think they are very close. Ferrari has done an absolutely outstanding job through the winter to come out and challenge Mercedes like they have. But now it is going to be a race on development, whatever manufacturer develops at a faster rate will ultimately win the world championship.” – Nigel Mansell explained, as reported by Reuters on Thursday.
The Brit, who was recently inducted into Motor Sport Magazine’s Hall of Fame, is sure that the Silver Arrows remains a formidable force, as does Lewis Hamilton, and the Maranello team still has a lot of work to do in order to win the Formula 1 world titles: “What Lewis has got to do when things are not quite right is get the best he can possibly out of himself and the team. But Lewis can still win the championship this year, it’s going to be very close between him and Sebastian Vettel.” – the former racing driver concluded.
Nigel Mansell managed to win both the Formula One World Championship (in 1992) and the CART Indy Car World Series, the following year. In preparation for the 1989 Formula One season, Nigel Mansell became the last Scuderia Ferrari driver to be personally selected by Enzo Ferrari before his death in August 1988, an honour Mansell described as “one of the greatest in my entire career”. He was the first driver to win in their debut race for the Scuderia since Mario Andretti managed to win the 1972 South African Grand Prix and he would remain the last man to win on his Ferrari debut until Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen won the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. However, the two years during which he raced for the Maranello team were mainly characterised by several reliability problems forcing him to retire from many Grands Prix, a situation that in the end led to Nigel Mansell returning to Williams in 1991.