Max Verstappen believes Red Bull's rivals "would never see us again" if the Anglo-Austrian team was powered by Mercedes engines.
The beginning of the V6 hybrid era in 2014 coincided with the end of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel's period of dominance in Formula 1, with the German manufacturer taking over thanks to a far superior engine.
Over the past four seasons, however, the Milton Keynes-based outfit has remained one of, if not the best on the grid in terms of the chassis but a failure on the part of their engine supplier Renault to close the performance gap has left Red Bull unable to challenge for the title.
"I think that if we had a Mercedes engine in the back, they would never see us again!" Verstappen proclaimed talking to Motorsport.com. "Ours (Renault) just isn't that stable compared to what Mercedes and Ferrari have."
The deficit hasn't just been about performance between Renault and their leading rivals either with reliability a major problem, particularly at the end of last season, and though there have been reassurances of progress, the Dutchman isn't expecting it to change soon.
"It has to do with several things otherwise, they would have solved it a long time ago, of course," he claimed.
At the same time, however, Red Bull hasn't always got it right, notably last year when a major change in design rules was expected to help them but instead, they slipped back.
"They thought about going for a low drag configuration, but for some reason, it just didn't work out," Verstappen revealed. "Maybe it was a bit too optimistic.
"But you've seen that the team can turn things around very quickly," he added, pointing to the strength of in-season development which saw the RB13 chassis more than a match for Ferrari and Mercedes by the end.
"It does give you confidence for the future that it can go in the right direction."
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