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Horner: It may balance things up slightly

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Red Bull chief Christian Horner is hoping that the new Formula 1 rules for 2017 will level the playing field and allow his team to break the dominance of Mercedes.

Horner said of the preseason preparations, “[Renault] are working very hard. If they can make the kind of gain that they made last winter, over this winter, then with the stability of the rules, hopefully that convergence will start to happen.

“And, with the chassis hopefully playing a bigger role in the package, it may balance things up slightly,” said Horner.

“But it is all hypothetical as you don’t know what everybody else has. All we can do is focus on the best job we can and worry about the others when we see them in Melbourne.”

Red Bull endured a tough 2015 season, while their relationship with Renault hit an all time low which exacerbated their plight. But 2016 was a revelation as Renault raised their game substantially and strong results came along with the improvements.

“We came into the season with very low expectations, and being in the top five in the constructors’ looked like it was going to be a challenge.

“So to have come away having finished second in the constructors’ championship, third in the drivers’ championship, having won two grands prix, pole position in Monte Carlo, 16 podiums, and having had Ricciardo complete every racing lap of the season with 100 percent reliability has been an enormous progression from 12 months ago.”

“Despite new regulations coming along for 2017, which obviously are an unknown to everybody, we take an awful lot of benefits and positives out of [last season],” added Horner.