Red Bull will have a number of car upgrades as well as a new power unit from Honda for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix this weekend.
The first 10 races of the 2020 season were either cancelled or postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a revised schedule that opens with two races in Austria followed by a third in Hungary, all on consecutive weekends. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the team has faced a race against time to ensure its new parts are on the car in Austria, and also revealed that Honda will bring a new power unit to start the season.
“We don’t really know where we stand going into Austria, and of course the car would have been developed [had the season run to its original schedule],” Horner said. “There would have been updates at the first European races at Zandvoort and Barcelona, there would have been further updates for Montreal, so of course all the updates that were in the pipeline prior to the shutdown, plus whatever we’ve learned subsequent to the shutdown, have been implemented to the car. So there are subtle revisions all over the car as part of that update process, which I’m sure the other front-running teams have also done.
“We also have an engine upgrade as we essentially introduce what would have been engine number two, which becomes our first engine. So in all aspects of the car there has been an awful lot of work, and it’s been a race against the clock to get those updates onto the car since reopening the factory at the beginning of June.”
Technical director Pierre Wache said the team’s 2020 car has even more potential than last year’s RB15, which won three races.
“I’m very happy with what we saw in the RB16,” Wache said. “We corrected the behavior of the RB15 so the driver can utilize the car better and so that it gives Max [Verstappen] and Alex [Albon] the opportunity to extract more performance. The RB16 is clearly a step forward compared to what we saw last year, and the development rate is still there, so I’m happy with what I’ve seen.
“I cannot guarantee that it’s enough to beat the others, but that’s part of our job. We are a big team, expectation is very high and we are expected to win, so we are doing everything we can to achieve that.”