Red Bull set for 'revamped' chassis in Spain
Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko says the team expects to make a “significant step” forward when Formula 1 returns to Europe for next month’s Spanish Grand Prix, with a "revamped" chassis set to be introduced.
Red Bull has emerged as the third-best team so far in 2017, behind pacesetters Mercedes and Ferrari but comfortably clear of the midfield pack.
The outfit has so far struggled to fully exploit its RB13, while power unit supplier Renault has also encountered a handful of issues, most notably running its 2016-spec MGU-K.
Marko has conceded that Red Bull's chassis has not been as strong as anticipated, but insists gains will arrive in the coming weeks.
“We have two problems: Renault had some reliability issues, which have slowed them down in the development; and we didn’t deliver the chassis that we should have done,” Marko told the official F1 website.
“But we are working day and night to pick up our shortcomings. We are pretty optimistic that we will make a significant step forward in Barcelona where a big change of parts is coming.
“The chassis will be ‘revamped’ in Barcelona and Renault is planning something for Montréal.”
Marko emphasised that Red Bull is already on the right trajectory, citing its improvement across the opening three rounds of the campaign.
“Let me get our pace history straight: in Australia we were 1.8 seconds behind, in China it was 1.3 seconds and in Bahrain something in the range of nine-tenth,” he commented.
“So we are improving and step by step closing the gap – but it is, of course, not enough.
“Looking at qualifying where the cars show their sheer speed, we know that Mercedes has a qualification mode – and to a certain extent also Ferrari – and that helps them a lot.
“By constantly closing the gap to them I would say that the direction we are moving in is promising.
“As you don’t get any points in qualifying, it is good news that in the race we are usually stronger if problems don’t stop us like on Sunday when Max [Verstappen] suffered a brake issue.”
Red Bull is 55 points adrift of leaders Ferrari in the Constructors' championship.