Red Bull believes that Renault's Formula 1 restructuring is now paying off, as it awaits with interest to see exactly how big a leap its B-spec engine will deliver.
On the back of a promising start to the campaign, Red Bull has raised its ambitions for the rest of the year – especially after an upgraded Renault power unit comes on board for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The situation is dramatically differently from 12 months ago, when relations between Red Bull and Renault reached an all-time low and they nearly parted company.
Now, Horner says Red Bull is eager to find out just how much progress can be delivered when the new power unit comes on tap.
"I think that on the power unit side, the guys in Viry done a good job over the winter," Horner told Motorsport.com.
"I think their restructuring has started to bear fruit in terms of direction and a clear strategy, so I am sure progress has been made there over the winter..
"But what we are really hopeful of is the next step, the B-spec engine. If it delivers what is being tabled, then that should put us in an even more competitive position."
As well as a direct technical boost, Horner believes that the new type of relationship – through rebranding of the engines as TAG Heuer – has helped,
For he feels that the situation has been helped by there being no distraction from the politics that could have hurt the team's preparations last year.
"I think everybody in the team, there has never been a leg off the throttle," he said. "Everybody kept their head down and they've done a fantastic job.
"Obviously the engine decision was very late last year but I think things have settled. With the reorganisation and the re-commitment of Renault to Formula 1 in terms of the engine side, the relationship with the engine branded as a TAG Heuer is working well.
"It just allows the engineers to focus on the technical side rather than being bogged down by commercial arguments."
Red Bull's front row performance at the Chinese Grand Prix has hinted at the potential of its package for this year – with Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat both optimistic about what is to come.
Speaking about the car, Horner said: "I think last year's car ended up pretty decent, to be honest, and this year's is a good evolution. It has tidied up some of the weak spots of last year.
"I think the senior technical team are doing a really super job and it's great to see how the team is really working very well."
And although there are still three races to go before the new Renault engine arrives, Horner thinks the season is long enough for his outfit to get in the mix.
"It's such a long year with 21 races," he said. "What we are really hoping to achieve in the second half of that year is to close that gap down."
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