Team principal Christian Horner has cautioned Red Bull will unlikely be at its prime per-formance up until the second half of the 2016 season.
But he mentioned that team-mate Toro Rosso, despite operating under relatively older-spec Ferrari power units, will still possibly be ahead of its parent squad initially.
“We’re going into the year hopeful that we can make progress from where we were in Abu Dhabi,” Horner said during the team’s livery launch event in London on Thursday last week.
“Teams like Toro Rosso are going to make a big performance jump just by the change of power unit that they have for this year. But we’re expecting steps to be made throughout the year.” Horner said.
He also expressed optimism Toro Rosso’s 2015 Ferrari unit will boost more power com-pared to the Tag Heuer-badged 2016 Renault engines that Red Bull will use.
“To start the year, yes, but hopefully that will change through the course of the year,” Horner added.
He is confident that Red Bull will be racing with “a very strong chassis,” and that relying on Renault to make better gains is one thing he believes is relatively reachable now that the French automaker has once again stepped into Formula One as a constructor.
“I get the feeling that they have a much better idea of where their performance deficiency has been and what they need to do to address that. There seems to be a lot more confi-dence and focus and I think with the restructuring they’ve done they’ve got some quality consultants in there with plenty of experience,” Horner explained.
Team driver Daniel Ricciardo, said the team could hope from Ferrari’s decision with their power unit last winter.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement with the power unit – more I think than Mercedes and Ferrari have,” he said. “If we can get the right kind of ingredients behind it we should see a bigger step. The question is when?”
“I’d like to think by the time we get to Europe we should be pretty competitive – getting a lot closer to Ferrari and ahead of Williams. It’s one of those things, last year we were supposed to have [power unit]updates pretty regularly and they didn’t really come on time and [Renault] didn’t really give us what we wanted,” he added.
Despite some setbacks, Ricciardo reassessed his ambitions for this season, but still re-mains positive of once again redeeming his post on the top of the rostrum.
“A win is what I hope for,” the race car driver said. “I say that thinking the season is long – if it comes I don’t think it will come straight away. I’d love to say more but realistically one would be a good start.
Ricciardo is teaming up with Daniil Kvyat.