Red Bull denies trick suspension ban has hurt F1 form

Red Bull does not think that Formula 1's ban on trick suspension systems was a contributing factor to it being behind Ferrari and Mercedes at the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull denies trick suspension ban has hurt F1 form
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, leads Felipe Massa, Williams FW40
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, leads Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM10
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were left unable to fight for the win at Albert Park, as set-up issues and a lack of power left it around half a second off the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari. 

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes the deficit to the top is shared equally between its chassis and engine – as he moved to play down the impact of the FIA's winter ruling on suspension systems.

Ahead of pre-season testing, the FIA issued a tough clampdown on sophisticated suspension systems which prompted Mercedes and Red Bull to remove concepts they had been evaluating for 2017.

Asked about the suspicions that removing the system had proved particularly costly for Red Bull because it had a more sophisticated device, Horner said: "I don't believe so.

"The suspension system that was outlawed was something that we looked to develop over the winter.

"And, to be honest with you, even if we had the ability to run it, it wouldn't earn a place on the car because of the weight involved. We are running effectively as we've run in previous seasons."

Closing the gap

With Ricciardo enduring a weekend to forget at his home event – thanks to a spin in qualifying and a fuel cell issue putting him out of the race – Verstappen could manage no better than fifth.

Although Red Bull had been widely perceived to emerge as the main threat to Mercedes this year, its form through testing and the Australia has proved to be a disappointment.

But Horner remains hopeful that the margin to the front can be closed down quickly, especially with Renault planning a decent update of engine.

"To be honest with you, Mercedes weren't that far away - I think probably half a second," said Horner. "Ferrari have been very impressive here and probably had the quickest car.

"We definitely had the third quickest car here and we've got to find a good half a second to get into that fight with the cars ahead. Max was pushing Kimi hard all race, but we didn't have the pace of Vettel or Hamilton.

"I think it's still early days. The regulations are still very immature. We've chosen a different concept. I believe there's really good development potential in the concept that we have.

"There's a lot of positives to take out of Australia, at a track where we have not been competitive for the last couple of years. I'm sure that we can build on this over the coming races."

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