Red Bull ended its deal with Renault after 12 years in order to join forces with Honda this season, following on from Toro Rosso’s partnership with the Japanese manufacturer last year. Pre-season testing has so far seen the team able to complete significant mileage, and Horner is impressed with the integration between chassis and power unit on the RB15.
“I think all aspects, ultimately power is a dominating factor but the installation of this engine into this chassis is probably the best one we’ve ever had,” Horner said. “When you look how neatly integrated it is into the chassis, it really is a thing of beauty, and I think the whole engineering team, collectively with Honda, have done a great job installing what looks like a Swiss clock into the back of our chassis.”
“The expectation for us is very much to make progress. New year, new regulations, new engine partner, new driver. Our objective is to try and close that gap between ourselves and Mercedes and Ferrari, and to try and achieve a more consistent performance on a variety of circuits.
“Previously our strengths were at circuits that were very chassis focused, but we’re hopeful with the changes we’ve made that we will be able to have a more consistent season across a wider variety.
“I think Honda have had a good winter and certainly they are reducing that gap significantly, but of course what you don’t know is what the others have done. If the others have found another 50kw then we’ve got a big issue.
“We’ve been very impressed by the approach of Honda and the progress that they’ve made. For us it’s a vital piece of the jigsaw to get us into a competitive position, not just for this year but for next year and potentially beyond.”