Red Bull potential enough to deliver season-long Mercedes challenge
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is confident he saw enough potential in his team over the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix weekend to challenge Formula 1 rival Mercedes throughout the course of the season.
Despite Max Verstappen and Alex Albon starting from second and fourth on the grid, Red Bull came away from the race without a point.
Verstappen retired early on with an apparent electrical issue, while Albon was involved in a collision with Lewis Hamilton when challenging for second before his own retirement with a power unit problem.
Despite a "hugely frustrating" race for Horner, there were positives as he said: "I believe the potential is there to fight Mercedes, perhaps not over a single lap at this track, but over the course of a season.
"As you saw, our race pace looked pretty decent with Max, and indeed Alex. I think we've got the basis of a good car. We've just got to develop it effectively."
While Mercedes clearly appears to have a pace advantage, particularly over one lap, Horner believes the heavily-upgraded RB16, that also boasted a second-specification Honda power unit, is a strong platform on which the team can build.
"I think Mercedes has done a good job over the winter, we saw that in pre-season testing, and I think engine-wise they are looking strong as well," added Horner.
"But, as mentioned, I think we have the basis of a very good car in RB16. The fact we managed to split them with Max and be running in a comfortable second is encouraging.
"We need to try and sort out some of the balance issues we had in qualifying and come back hopefully stronger this weekend [for the second race in Austria]."
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