Christian Horner says Red Bull has exceeded expectations in the first two races given the problems experienced in testing.
Horner says that the gap to Mercedes largely reflects a disparity in straightline performance, but remains confident that the French manufacturer can make progress.
“It’s a big gap, they’ve obviously got plenty up their sleeve at the moment,” he said. “And I think we’ve done incredibly well to get as close to them as we did this weekend. Their advantage is clear, it’s in a straight line, and we’re working hard with the guys from Viry.
“Considering where we’re at with the engine to be doing what we’re doing is beyond expectation. Renault know there’s a lot more to come once they sort out driveability issues and so on. Hopefully our curve in terms of catching up on straightline speed, whilst it’s steep, we should hopefully be able to make steps.”
Horner said Renault can move forward despite the homologation of the mechanical elements of the engine, as there is still a lot to come from software.
“Yes, I think they can, because a lot of their issues are software related. Hopefully the steps can be made, and we can close that gap down. But it’s not just Renault, you saw Alonso today against Hulkenberg – Alonso on a new set of tyres, DRS fully open, couldn’t pass Hulkenberg on a scrubbed set of tyres. It’s not just Renault. Mercedes, hats off to them, have done a very good job over the winter with this new engine, with this new technology. We’ve got to work very hard to catch them.
“It’s a matter of getting all three elements working in harmony, there’s obviously the combustion engine, the turbo, and the energy recovery system, which affects your braking as much as it does your acceleration and power delivery.”
As for the next race he said: “I don’t think we’re going to have a solution overnight. It doesn’t tend to rain in Bahrain much either. We’re going to obviously try to make as much progress as we can in the week. The dynos are busy running in Paris. And hopefully we nudge a bit closer to them again if it all possible next weekend.”