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Red Bull chief Christian Horner has said that engine partners Renault must now step up to the plate following a string of tall claims that they have made regarding the team’s chances when it comes to improving its power unit performance.

Horner said that Renault must now prove that they can provide Red bull with the cutting edge to take on the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari.

Red Bull has made significant gains on the two front-runners in F1 this season, taking a victory on merit in Malaysia three weeks ago.

However, they have had well-documented problems with Renault over the performance gap with its engine.

“As soon as you put a little bit of scrub the engine doesn’t pull through,” Horner said of Red Bull’s straight-line struggles at Suzuka.

“It is very sensitive with acceleration at that point whereas if you’ve got the power – you can see Mercedes and Ferrari are running more downforce than us and running the little Monkey Seat, the wing over the exhaust, they are running a deep rear wing but still their speed is extremely impressive.

“I don’t think it is just in qualifying (Renault is behind), I think it is also in the Grand Prix as well. If we can find a bit of horsepower over the winter it puts us into a much better season going into next season.”

When asked if he believed Renault could produce the goods, Horner said, “The stopwatch doesn’t lie. Talk is cheap and it is what happens on track (that counts).

“We see they are working really hard and hopefully as these rules have been pretty stable for some time now there will start to be some convergence.”

Red Bull’s existing contract with Renault will end at the end of 2018 and it is speculated that the French manufacturer does not want to extend the deal any further.

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