Although Mercedes dominated the proceedings at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner is sure that his outfit’s 2020 F1 car, the RB16 can take up the fight against Anglo-German squad’s W11.
Red Bull started the season in the hope of being able to challenge for the world championship titles. However, the season-opener showed that Mercedes enjoys a healthy performance advantage over its closest rival Red Bull both over a qualifying lap and in race trim. While Horner is not sure whether Red Bull can challenge Mercedes over a single qualifying lap, he is sure that the energy drink-owned team can give the Anglo-German squad a run for their money.
„I believe, the potential is there to fight Mercedes. Perhaps not over a single lap at this track, but I think over the course of the season. And as you saw, our race pace looked pretty decent with Max and indeed with Alex. I think we have got the basis of a good car. We've just got to develop effectively."
The Briton has revealed that balance problems masked the real potential of the RB16 at the season-opener in Spielberg. He urges his engineers to exploit the full potential of Red Bull’s 2020 car in order to fight for victories in the curtailed season.
"I think we've got the basis of a very, very good car in RB16, and the fact that we managed to split them in the race with Max and be running in a comfortable second is encouraging. We need to try and sort out some of the balance issues that we had in qualifying and come back, hopefully, stronger."
For the season-opener at home soil, Red Bull brought a new nose and a revised front wing as part of its upgrade package. The new nose featuring different cooling inlets and a more square form was used by Max Verstappen while Alexander Albon completed the first race of the delayed season with the older version of the nose.
Horner has revealed that the performance difference between the two solutions is minimal, but they enable different development paths for the rest of the season. "The spec difference was more about characteristics than outright performance.
"Both drivers will converge on to the same spec next week, but at the moment we're unsure whether it'll be Alex's spec or Max's spec. We need to really look and focus at the data on that,” he concluded.