Despite Ferrari’s resurgence last year, Red Bull is still the best hope for knocking Mercedes off its perch in 2018.
Every Formula 1 team is world champion in their own heads at this time of year, before the stopwatch delivers its dose of cold hard reality to all those heady winter dreams of glory. But there is genuine reason for optimism at Red Bull in 2018.
After an unexpectedly slow start under F1's latest aerodynamic regulations, Red Bull finished 2017 with arguably the strongest chassis on the grid. Had the world championship been contested over just the final six races of last season, Max Verstappen would have tied Lewis Hamilton on points and lost the title only on second-place countback. The aim is therefore to come out firing straight from the off in '18, avoiding the sort of slow start that has become a worrying feature of Red Bull's development pattern over the past six seasons.