Red Bull driver Max Verstappen believes the team's development towards the end of 2020 will aid its drive to end Mercedes' Formula 1 dominance this year.
In October, Mercedes announced it had halted development of the W11 "a long time ago" in order to focus on maximising the regulation changes for the coming season.
In contrast, Red Bull continued to press ahead with its development work - the team seeking to better understand the RB16 with a large number of parts being carried over from last year to this.
Despite the differing approaches, Verstappen still believes Mercedes will be "difficult to beat" this time around.
“Nobody knows what will be happening this year," he explained. "But for sure they will be very strong and hard to beat just because of the limited things you can change on the car and there is no secret about that.
"We just have to keep on working hard and for us this season we kept developing as we needed to understand the car more and we can’t really change a lot anyway.
“I don’t think this year it mattered if you switched early or later, it’s more about just getting to understand the car you are actually using next year and that’s what we have been trying to do."
Verstappen provided hope for his team ahead of the new season with a lights-to-flag victory in last year's final race in Abu Dhabi - his second win of the season.
Mercedes will enter this year as strong favourites given the team's seven-year spell of dominance, but Verstappen has warned his Abu Dhabi success has given Red Bull added motivation to dethrone the Silver Arrows.
“For sure, we are looking forward to this year," he said. "I think we can be more competitive, also from the Honda side because it is not only the car where we are lacking, but everyone is very motivated and is pushing for it and we won’t give up.
“I think the team spirit is very good and a good winning mentality is there so I am excited for that, to see what we can do.”
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