Red Bull feels it's building up "momentum" for stronger 2020
Red Bull has faith that it is building "momentum" for a better Formula 1 season in 2020, despite its progress since the summer break being clouded by an "oddball" performance at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Milton Keynes-based outfit delivered two wins over the first half of the season as it proved a thorn in the side of its rivals, but since the summer break things have not been as strong.
While the team had never been expected to fight for victory in Belgium and Italy, its failure to be the pace-setter in Singapore was more of a surprise as Max Verstappen was beaten by the two Ferraris.
Since then, the team has missed out on a podium in Russia and Japan, with Verstappen's hopes at Suzuka wrecked by a second corner clash with Charles Leclerc.
However, team principal Christian Horner thinks the results over the second half of the year do not tell the true story of his team's progress – especially because Singapore fell below expectations because the team went the wrong way with set-up.
"For me the oddball event was Singapore. We undershot there," Horner told Motorsport.com. "We didn't extract as much out of the car as the potential of the car had, and I think we have understood that subsequent to the event.
"Russia was about on par with where our expectation was and I think what has happened since is that we have seen Ferrari take a step forward as well.
"But hopefully for the remaining races we should be able to get back into a competitive situation – and we have seen we are a lot closer than 12 months ago."
Pushed further on what the problem was at Singapore, Horner said: "I think it was predominantly a setup issue. And I think we have understood it subsequent to the event.
"It was a shame because Singapore is a circuit – we still managed to get a podium out of it and beat both Mercedes – but you could not help but feel that we had not maximised our potential."
Red Bull always viewed this season, its first with Honda engines, as a transition year to greater success in 2020.
And although the campaign has had its ups and downs, Horner feels the team is in a good place as it focuses on making the next step.
"The momentum that we have built this year, it was always going to be a transitionary year," he explained.
"I think what Honda have done in improving each of the engines that have been introduced [is positive], and I think chassis wise for sure we took a bigger hit on the front wing regs than perhaps some of our competitors, but having understood that and worked our way through that, it very much feels like we are building good momentum in the latter stage of development of this car into 2020."
Asked if he felt the ingredients were there for the team to deliver next year, he said: "I think collectively there are a lot of good things going on and this year has been very much a transitionary year.
"I think working with the engineers at Sakura and Milton Keynes, they have really gelled extremely well, and I think we will start to see the benefits of that hopefully during the course of next year."
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