Red Bull: 'Pace deficit solely down to power unit'

Red Bull Racing, Getty Images

19 March 2014 by Ryan Wood

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes his outfit's deficit to Mercedes is solely down to the Renault power unit.

Nico Rosberg took victory in Australia by just 25 seconds on Daniel Ricciardo, but that gap would have been bigger had it not been for a Safety Car period.

Horner also admitted that Rosberg was likely pacing himself and therefore could have gone quicker, meaning Mercedes likely has a one-second advantage.

"They controlled the race, I'm sure they didn't fully extend themselves and it looks like they have at least a second in the pocket at the moment," he said.

"I would say on average it's about a second a lap, so that's about what we have to find."

When asked if the power unit was to blame, he replied: "Well based on the fact that we're giving away about a second a lap on the straights, I'll let you conclude…"

The team and supplier have made progress and Horner expects much more to come, but warned that Malaysia was likely too soon for those changes to be seen.

"We've just got to use the two weeks that we've got between now and then to try and start to eke in to some of the gap that there is to the Mercedes.

"90% of the issues are software-related – how the energy recovery system is working with the combustion engine – so there is a lot of scope. We are tremendously restricted in the driveability of the car, how the torque is delivered, which obviously affects straight-line speed. So I think there is room for an awful lot of improvement, but it's working between the engineers in Milton Keynes and Viry-Chatillon to make sure we get the most out of it."