Feb.21 (GMM) Red Bull appears ready to challenge for the world championship.
After the opening three days of 2019 testing, the provisional pecking order is Ferrari in the lead, half a second ahead of Mercedes.
But between those two teams, it appears, is Red Bull-Honda.
Getting a lot of the credit for that is the team’s new works engine partner.
“We have been able to greatly improve reliability and at the same time increase performance,” admitted Honda F1 boss Toyoharu Tanabe.
He admitted that winning in 2019 is the goal.
“But we always make winning the goal, whether it is F1 or another series,” the Japanese told Speed Week.
“Our goal is certainly to achieve better results than last year with both teams.”
Team officials at Red Bull are enthusing about their new engine, with Christian Horner admitting it is “clearly better” than the customer Renault.
“We see Ferrari ahead of us at the moment, but we are not worried about the times,” said Dr Helmut Marko. “We are ahead of Mercedes.”
Rumours are about excessive engine vibrations, meanwhile, were denied.
“We are totally satisfied,” Marko told Auto Bild. “The package works as expected.”
Horner continued: “We are fully on schedule. The car works as we predicted, and the Honda engine is a rocket.
“Pierre Gasly told us that the engine is better than last year’s. And Max is raving about it. He feels much more power.”
And so Horner said Red Bull is not considering simply copying Ferrari’s front wing design.
“What we have works best for us,” he said. “We looked at the Ferrari concept but our simulations tell us that our wing has more potential.”