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Red Bull's 2018 season could have been "quite different" with extra 50hp

Written by  Dec 02, 2018

Team boss Christian Horner believes Red Bull could well have competed against Ferrari and Mercedes more regularly with an extra 50 horsepower.

The Milton Keynes-based squad often found themselves the third best on the grid in 2018 thanks mostly to the Renault power unit which didn't have the same 'party' modes available in qualifying.

That meant Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo often sat fifth and sixth and unable to take advantage of a strong race pace.

"It's always easy to say ifs, buts and maybes, but if there'd have been another 40kw [50hp] in the back of the car, the season could have looked quite different," Horner told Motorsport.com.

Red Bull did claim four wins in 2018 and would have had a fifth in Brazil but on all the occasions, the team took advantage of tyre wear or a nullifying of the engine deficit on less power-sensitive circuits.

Much of the reason for that was an RB14 chassis that was better than the Silver Arrow and the Prancing Horse.

"Hats off to everybody in Milton Keynes for producing arguably one of our best ever chassis," the Briton commented.

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Continuing his Renault remarks, Horner also pointed away from Red Bull suggesting: "When you look at the other users with the same engine, there is a world of difference," referencing how teams like Sauber, Haas and Force India were able to match the works Renault team.

Of course, even with the extra power, there would have been another factor that would have prevented Red Bull from competing with those ahead.

"Reliability isn't something we've had," Horner admitted. "We've had 11 or 12 retirements this year. That's [been] our biggest Achilles heel."

To try and rectify both counts, Red Bull will drop their long-time engine partner of 12 years and switch to Honda for 2019 along with junior team Toro Rosso.

"Lewis Hamilton had one DNF this year, likewise with Sebastian [Vettel]," the team boss noted. "That's the rate we have to be aiming to achieve.

"The trajectory [with Honda] is going the right way," he added. "What we see and hear in the pipeline as well but pieces of paper are one thing, the stopwatch ultimately never lies."

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