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Red Bull’s motorsport director, Helmut Marko, remains optimistic despite the team falling behind Mercedes and Ferrari in the early part of this season.
To combat their slow start, the team plans to upgrade its chassis for the race at Barcelona next month. Marko also said that Renault will improve its engine for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Three races into the new season, Red Bull already finds itself 55 points adrift of leaders Ferrari and Marko said that it would take a “monumental effort” to turn things around and win the title for the first time since 2014.
While harping on the reason for the team’s downfall, Marko blamed things on the Renault engine, which will also face an upgrade after concerns over power output and reliability.
The team even reverted to its 2016 MGU-K for the Australian Grand Prix as a precaution as Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Renault all faced failures during pre-season testing at Barcelona.
When you look at the aerodynamics, it is easy to observe that the team falls short of both Ferrari and Mercedes, particularly in the turbulent wake of opponents.
“We have two problems: Renault had some reliability issues, which have slowed them down in the development; and we didn’t deliver the chassis that we should have done,” Marko told the official Formula 1 website.
“But we are working day and night to pick up our shortcomings. We are pretty optimistic that we will make a significant step forward in Barcelona where a big change of parts is coming.”
“The chassis will be ‘revamped’ in Barcelona and Renault is planning something for Montreal,” he said.
Max Verstappen has given the team its only podium and best result in the Chinese Grand Prix and the young Dutchman showed great pace in Bahrain, running in fourth and challenging Lewis Hamilton for a podium, until his brakes failed.
His teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, finished fifth, having recovered from Hamilton’s hold-up in the pit entry after the safety car was deployed on lap 13.
After the safety car restart, however, Ricciardo struggled on cold tyres and was even overtaken by Williams’ Felipe Massa at one point.
Team principal Christian Horner echoed Marko’s comments on revamping the car in Bahrain, with a more tentative optimism at the FIA’s press conference.
“I’m sure several teams are targeting Barcelona with various update packages and we’re no different.
“But in between now and then we’re trying to get performance on the car, understand some of the issues and constantly move it forward,” said Horner.
In reply to a question on whether the upgrade will be significant or not, he said, “If it delivers lap time, yes. It’s a significant cost, so we’ll see. Hopefully it will be value for money.”