Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says there is more to come from Renault’s latest specification of power unit that helped Max Verstappen to second place in the Singapore Grand Prix.
Singapore has traditionally been a strong circuit for Red Bull and Verstappen duly qualified second behind Lewis Hamilton, retaining that position in Sunday’s race. Although the Dutchman complained of mapping issues costing him performance throughout the weekend, Horner says there were notable performance gains from the latest specification that Red Bull received in Monza.
“It is difficult to say (if Verstappen could have won) — I think we could have certainly got close to them but then we saw a power increase compared to previous specifications so we did take some benefit,” Horner said.
“The guys actually did a good job to tidy it up as best they could on the mapping within their parameters. With more time and more optimization it would only be better.
“We accepted the risks when we took this engine. It has delivered a bit more power and it has been a bit rough around the edges but with the increase in power from it that helped get on to the front row (in qualifying) and helped to achieve a second position.
“I think it is things like driveability which is all stuff that is usually not dealt with trackside, more dyno and in-house facilities.”
Horner highlights Mexico as Red Bull’s only other realistic opportunity to win a race under normal circumstances, with further power unit penalties expected to follow for the next race at Sochi in order to have a bigger pool of engines for the rest of the season. At the same time as managing the Renault situation this year, Horner has an eye on Honda’s progress before Red Bull switches suppliers in 2019.
“We are encouraged by what we are seeing but it is still early days. But there is a very strong desire within Honda and it is great to be working in a partnership, so we are looking forward to the next chapter for Red Bull Racing. Before that we have six races to close out with our existing partner.”