Red Bull could come under pressure from the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari quite quickly due to the scope for improvement both teams have, according to team principal Christian Horner.
The first five races have all been won by Red Bull, with four one-two finishes and only Lewis Hamilton take second place in Australiaduring a tough weekend for Sergio Perez breaking the run. However, with Mercedes promising a significant update at this week’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, Horner says the feeling within his team is not that it has made a major step forward but that its rivals had failed to do so.
“Look you can never write anybody off and I think it’s the best start we’ve had,” Horner said. “We feel we’ve made a good step from RB18 into RB19, the kind of step you would expect, and it feels more like others have lost ground, and I’m sure they’re working hard to address that. Big gains could come quite quickly.
“I think it’s surprised us that the others have perhaps underdelivered compared to where they were last year, but no doubt they’ll be looking to address that and I’m sure starting in Imola we’re going to see big updates starting to come through.
While Red Bull will bring its own upgrades to Imola, Horner also admits the team is unlikely to be matching the size of the introduction from Mercedes given the cost cap penalty it received last year.
“We’re having to pick and choose where we apply the parts. With the penalty that we’re carrying, with the restriction in development time, we have to be selective with that. So I’m sure our update will perhaps be more modest than others.
“You just never know, you’ve just got to do the best job you can with the tools that you have. And I think the team are doing such a wonderful job, such strength in depth that we have in the team across all areas.”
However, Horner doesn’t view the upcoming three races as central to the overall outcome of the season, even if Red Bull can maintain its performance advantage amid the next set of developments.
“I mean until mathematically things are done, which is still a long long way away, we’ve got a great car, a great team, two great drivers… But there’s still a long way to go. Let’s reserve judgement until after we see that they turn up with in Imola and Barcelona.”