Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has given an honest assessment of the current state of play in Formula 1, admitting that the World Champions are on the back foot and pointing to Mercedes as pre-season favourites.
Horner told Sky Sports, “You’d have to say that Mercedes are the favourites, or that Mercedes-powered teams are absolutely the favourites. We are on the backfoot, but it’s a long year, a tough Championship and it’s not all won in winter testing.”
Testing has been problem packed for the F1 World Champions as the aggressive aero packaging of the Adrian Newey penned RB10 has not sat well with the all new Renault V6 turbo Power Unit and related sundries. Overheating is a major problem which severely curtailed their running in Spain last month.
Despite claims that the heating issues are resolved, the team has picked up other problems during the Bahrain test, which has given them more running but nowhere as much as the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren. And crucially they have not been able to unleash any kind of pace that would even trouble the slowest of the Mercedes powered outfits.
“It’s obviously not where we wanted to be, but it’s where we are and it’s a question of just getting on with it,” said Horner, who watched as the team were forced to pack up early on day three of testing in Bahrain.
Red Bull’s Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum attributed Friday’s problems to a mechanical issue which he was adamant was not related to earlier problems experienced by the team, “These issues are of course frustrating but this was unrelated to the others so it’s just a case of tackling each issue as it appears.”
The Red Bull boss was quick to dispell speculation that cracks in the relationship with Renault were starting to appear as a result of these episodes, “We are on the backfoot, we would have liked more miles under our belts, but the collaboration we have with Renault is extremely strong. All of our grand prix wins have come with Renault power and there’s a great working relationship between the teams.”
After his two day stint in Bahrain Sebastian Vettel said, “It’s not easy to find a quick fix, but I think we understand the problems. However, very often you fix one problem and another pops up, which is what has happened.”
Daniel Ricciardo will be back in the RB10 cockpit for the fourth and final day of testing on Saturday. (GP247)
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