Mercedes and Red Bull ended the 2020 season in first and second spot respectively. However, it is fair to say that the Silver Arrows were never really under any real pressure.
There is a glaring gap at the top of the standings between the two teams, even if Red Bull is superior to the other cars on the grid. One cannot realistically expect Red Bull to challenge Mercedes even this year.
However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes that it is not an impossible task.
“Mercedes publicly said they stopped developing their 2020 car to focus on 2021. So, we’ll see, obviously, in Bahrain, the step forward they’ve made,” Horner said.
“I think the regulation changes are bigger than were anticipated, on the aero side of things,” he said.
“Mercedes is quite a machine, but we’ve demonstrated that you can beat them – by working hard, by applying yourself to the task in hand.”
Horner believes there is a bit of gamesmanship at play with respect to Mercedes. He said that it could be a tactic to motivate the crew at Mercedes.
“I expect that Toto has used that, and James Allison [too], to come up with an even more competitive car for this year. So, we don’t in any way underestimate the might of Mercedes. But we’ve always been a challenger,” he said.
One thing working in favour of Red Bull is their acquisition of the experienced Sergio Perez. After a significant gap, the team will have a competitive driver alongside Max Verstappen.