Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has been left perplexed by Mercedes’ and Ferrari’s poor pace so far this season, with the two teams currently jostling it out for third and fourth in the pecking order.
Neither team had any answer to Red Bull’s sublime pace last weekend at the Miami Grand Prix, where the Austrians secured their fourth 1-2 from the opening five races.
The Milton Keynes-based team are the only side to have won a race this season, with reigning World Champion Max Verstappen having won three races, with Sergio Perez winning the other two.
As a result, Red Bull sit top of the Constructors’ Championship by a healthy 122 points, with Aston Martin being their closest rival.
Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship once again by 14 points, with Perez being second.
It’s certainly a very different story to 12 months ago, with Ferrari having led the standings by six points following the inaugural Miami GP.
As things currently stand, Mercedes are currently in third but 128 points behind Red Bull, whilst Ferrari are in fourth and 146 points behind.
The difference between Red Bull and their usual rivals is jaw-dropping to see, with Horner joking that the Austrians are wondering “where are the others”?
The Red Bull boss added that something has clearly not worked at Ferrari and Mercedes, with the Austrians having only made a “normal” improvement during the recent winter break.
“We’ve never ever had a start like this and we’re kind of wondering, where are the others?” Horner said to Sky Sports F1.
“Because we’ve made a normal step over the winter and I think it’s more about where did Ferrari and Mercedes go?”
Red Bull’s huge advantage could take a hit next weekend at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, though, where Ferrari and Mercedes are both expected to introduce sizeable upgrades.
Mercedes’ in particular is one that has been heavily discussed, given that the upgrade in question is their new concept.
The W14 is set to look drastically different in Imola, meaning they could find significant performance.
As well as the imminent “big upgrades”, Horner is also aware that Red Bull’s budget cap penalty will result in their advantage being reduced, with the Red Bull boss recognising the importance of building as big a lead in the championship as possible before their penalty starts to impact their performance.
“I’m sure they have been working hard on big upgrades for Europe,” Horner explained.
“With the penalty we have to develop the car later in the year, it’s important for us to get as much fresh air as we can between ourselves and the opposition at this stage.”