Red Bull says it is treating the next two grands prix as damage limitation exercises amid its prediction that Mercedes will hold a performance advantage.
Red Bull has won eight races to Mercedes’ four this season but trails in the Constructors’ Championship by 12 points.
Red Bull has not claimed victory at Monza, venue for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix since 2013, while Max Verstappen has never finished on the podium at the circuit.
Mercedes has remained unbeaten at Sochi, location for the following event in Russia, since the circuit was introduced onto the schedule in 2014.
“I think their car and engine package has always been historically very strong at those two venues and they’ve been weaker venues for us,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
“So I expect them to have the advantage at the next two, but then after it should be nip and tuck, I would certainly hope.
“The next two weekends for us are about trying to limit the damage as much as we can and extract as much from the car as we can.”
Verstappen, though, played down the measure of performance levels in previous seasons.
“Of course it hasn’t been our best track of the calendar the last few years,” he said of Monza.
“But of course I know that this year we are competitive in general everywhere but nevertheless, again, we just need to nail the details and then I’m sure we can be competitive.”