Red Bull team boss Christian Horner declares his side has not felt threatened by Mercedes’ recent resurgence, citing it has not closed the gap even with its revised car.
After suffering a tough opening to the year, Mercedes introduced an extensive upgrade package in Monaco, including the highly anticipated addition of sidepods to the W14.
The new parts appear to have delivered an immediate performance improvement, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell securing the Brackley-based side’s first double podium finish of the year last time out in Spain.
Mercedes’ Barcelona outing has left the camp enthused about its prospects of beginning to close down the huge deficit it upholds to Red Bull, who continued its flawless start with a seventh straight victory.
However, Horner argues the 24s margin that separated race winner Max Verstappen from Hamilton demonstrates that Red Bull’s advantage has not yet been reduced.
When asked by Motorsport.com how much progress he thinks Mercedes had made, Horner said: “For sure they’ve made a step.
“But they’ve introduced pretty much a B-spec car, so they must have used a significant proportion of their development budget on that.
“And I think that when I look at the gap at the end of the race, it is very similar to where it was in Bahrain.
“All that is happening is the running order behind us seems to vary from race to race. You know, Fernando last weekend [in Monaco], Mercedes this weekend. It will be interesting to see how that plays out over the next few races.”
Unlike the chasing pack, Red Bull is yet to bolster its 2023 charger with a major set of upgrades at one select race weekend.
Horner believes that more credit should be attributed to the Austrian outfit for maintaining its competitive advantage with only minor additions to the RB19.
“The team are just doing an incredible, incredible job being extremely efficient,” he added. “You can see we’ve very subtly developed the car since Bahrain, while we’ve seen others bringing significant upgrades now.
“The margin has remained pretty much the same from where it was in Bahrain, so that’s hugely encouraging to everybody in Milton Keynes that is doing an outstanding job at the moment.”
Mercedes have been sceptical over its chances of providing a greater threat to Red Bull in Canada, claiming that the vastly different track characteristics will provide a new challenge for its modified car.
Instead, it openly anticipates being in a close fight with Aston Martin, who is set to unveil a significant upgrade package of its own in Montreal, and potentially Ferrari as well.
The German marque moved above its engine customer into second place in the Constructors’ Championship after its double top-three finish in Spain.