Beating Mercedes to 2020 F1 title will be "extremely difficult" - Horner
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner fears it will be tough for his team to dethrone reigning Formula 1 champions Mercedes this season.
Using the past six years in evidence to his claim, a period that has seen Mercedes win consecutive drivers and constructors championship doubles, Horner compared the 2020 and 2021 seasons to an 18-month campaign.
"I think beating Mercedes under any circumstance is going to be extremely difficult, particularly when you consider their previous six seasons, but what we’re also looking at is pretty much an 18-month season in many respects," said Horner in the Friday FIA press conference.
"OK, we’ve got the 2020 world championship, which we don’t know, in the bizarre situation where we’re sitting here whether it’s going to be eight races or 18.
"And then, of course, we’ve got a car that largely carries over into next year which will basically be bodywork updates during the course of next year as well.
"So it’s important to get the basis of this car right because it doesn’t just impact this year, it impacts next year as well. But hopefully, we’ve got a good starting point."
Towards the back end of 2019, Red Bull came on strong, with Max Verstappen winning a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix and team-mate Alex Albon close to joining the Dutchman on the podium.
Horner knows, though, to mount a sustained challenge will prove a far more difficult task.
He added: "We got close to Mercedes at the end of last year at a few circuits: Mexico, Brazil were a few to name, but hopefully we can keep the pressure on and not give them an easy time this year.
"It’s going to be a different kind of season, and I think it’s good for the health of the sport to have competition.
"To have a rivalry as well is something the sport desperately needs, and particularly as there’s so much focus on this return to racing. It would be good to get off to a good start."
Following Friday's on-track action, Red Bull lodged a formal protest against the Mercedes DAS system, with Horner stating he wanted to seek "clarification" with regard to certain aspects of the device.
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