Despite Daniel Ricciardo suffering a spin, and then on race day reliability woes, the RB13 never looked like challenging for the front row. Dutch ace Verstappen also found the car difficult to drive, ultimately leaving the Bulls half a second off the pace of the front two.
Christian Horner was asked whether their poor showing in Australia was related to the removal of the ‘trick’ suspension, his answer was an assured no.
“The suspension system that was outlawed was something that we looked to develop over the winter.
“And, to be honest with you, even if we had the ability to run it, it wouldn’t earn a place on the car because of the weight involved. We are running effectively as we’ve run in previous seasons.”
Prior to pre-season testing governing body the FIA, clarified the ruling on complex suspension systems, which forced Red Bull and Mercedes to re-design their cars removing the concept in the process.
Red Bull who enjoyed sporadic success last year, were widely tipped to be on the pace from the off this year. They have consistently interpreted major rule changes better than most in the past, but testing, and form in Australia proved to be disappointing.
Horner remains defiant that the gap is not that great, and when Renault bring their updated engine… they hope to close the gap as quickly as possible.
“To be honest with you, Mercedes weren’t that far away – I think probably half a second,” said Horner. “Ferrari have been very impressive here and probably had the quickest car.
“We definitely had the third quickest car here and we’ve got to find a good half a second to get into that fight with the cars ahead. Max was pushing Kimi hard all race, but we didn’t have the pace of Vettel or Hamilton.
“I think it’s still early days. The regulations are still very immature. We’ve chosen a different concept. I believe there’s really good development potential in the concept that we have.
“There’s a lot of positives to take out of Australia, at a track where we have not been competitive for the last couple of years. I’m sure that we can build on this over the coming races.”
Red Bull are also famed for their speed of development. They will be pulling all the stops out to be challenging that’s for sure.