Red Bull already face a "tricky" task to claw back the significant number of points lost to Ferrari and Charles Leclerc following its spate of early-season retirements.
That is the verdict of former Red Bull driver Mark Webber who has suggested there are "mice in the machinery" that have resulted in the team suffering three DNFs in the first three races of the new F1 season.
Two of those have hit Max Verstappen whose defence of his championship left him declaring in the wake of retiring in Australia on Sunday as "unacceptable".
Reflecting on the faltering start made by Red Bull, speaking on Channel 4, Webber said: "We saw after Bahrain when they had the double non-finish there, there was a glimpse then of something not acceptable, off the back of a world championship. We need to be coming out of the gate stronger.
"Of course, the speed's there. They are strong enough but [they were] not strong enough to win the race [in Australia].
"But when you haemorrhage 18 points and maybe the fastest lap and all the rest of it, they are big points down the drain, huge points.
"And Leclerc is doubling down - another victory, another fastest lap, so tricky for them [Red Bull].
"It's a long season. Red Bull are not going anywhere in a hurry, but these points are going to be tricky to get back."
Ferrari has 'wind in its sails'
Suggested to Webber there was something sinister potentially at play, especially given the gremlins that have also affected sister team AlphaTauri, Webber added: "Not sure.
"Also, we have to look at AlphaTauri. They had a ropey start in terms of reliability, both in Bahrain and Saudi, so there are some mice in the machinery.
"Red Bull, at Milton Keynes, they're going to have to work hard, of course. They're not shy of putting a shift in.
"But I tell you what, the Prancing Horse are well down the road at the moment. They have got the wind in their sails."
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