Christian Horner believes with another 40kw from their power unit, 2018 could have been a “quite different” for Red Bull and in the F1 standings.
Once again hampered by the V6 engine supplied by Renault, Red Bull managed just four race wins this season and finished a distant third in the Constructors’ standings.
Their disappointing form resulted in Red Bull announcing the end of their relationship with the Renault with next year’s RB15 set to be powered by Honda.
The swap may be seen from the outside as a gamble, however, Red Bull are adamant it is the only way they will be able to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari for the World titles.
Horner reckons this year they were left about 40kw down on making a difference.
He told Autosport: “It’s always easy to say ifs, buts and maybes, but if there’d have been another 40kw [roughly 53bhp] in the back of the car, the season could have looked quite different.
“Hats off to everybody in Milton Keynes for producing arguably one of our best ever chassis.
“When you look at the other users with the same engine [the Renault works team and McLaren], there is a world of difference.”
Such is the team boss’s belief in Honda that he reckons if they can start 2019 as Honda finished 2018, Red Bull would “certainly be an awful lot closer.
“What we see and hear in the pipeline as well – pieces of paper are one thing, the stopwatch ultimately never lies.”
There are, however, still some concerns about Honda’s reliability but reliability issues are something the Red Bull team is all too familiar with having suffered more than their fair share with Renault.
Horner added: “Reliability isn’t something we’ve had. We’ve had 11 or 12 retirements this year.
“That’s our biggest Achilles heel.
“If we can achieve the power and the reliability [of the big teams], Lewis Hamilton had one DNF this year, likewise with Sebastian [Vettel].
“That’s the rate we have to be aiming to achieve.”