Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expects to remain at the front of the field in 2018 after an impressive recovery from his team this season.
For the second year in a row, Red Bull started with an uncompetitive car relative to Mercedes and Ferrari. But development throughout the season has elevated the cars’ performance to give them pace to win outright in two of the past four races. With the new aerodynamic regulations going into their second year without major change, Horner believes a repeat of recent slow starts will be avoided.
“We have got regulation stability, so the lessons from RB13 will go into 14,” Horner said. “We are hopeful on the engine side that performance and reliability will improve. We have demonstrated we have a really competitive chassis since Hungary. If we can take these learnings into next year’s car, we can start on a strong footing rather than the second or so we were off at the beginning of the year.”
One potential cause of Red Bull’s recent pre-season struggles has been the late completion of its car, with the team having completed crash tests as late as possible before track running begins. Horner admits it is an approach that will change in order to get a better understanding of its car during pre-season testing.
“We are focusing on a slightly earlier release target, which only involves about five days. But design is so concertinaed and production so tight, that that five days is actually pretty valuable in terms of being on the front rather than the back foot. Our intention is to turn up at the first test in the position to knock out 100 laps on the first day. That has to be the target.”
Following Max Verstappen’s wins in Malaysia and Mexico – sandwiching two more competitive performances in Japan and the United States – Horner believes Red Bull can target victories in each of the last two races “subject to penalties.”
“At the last four races we have had the quickest car on the Sunday. Hopefully Brazil can be a good track for us, and why not in Abu Dhabi. It would be great to finish the season with a least one more win.”