Smelling a real chance of title glory in 2021 is proving a huge source of motivation at Red Bull, says chief engineer Paul Monaghan.
Red Bull have traditionally been slow starters when it comes to a new Formula 1 season in the turbo-hybrid era, but the combination of chassis carryover from 2020 and the new aerodynamic rules seems to have greatly benefitted them.
The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix saw Max Verstappen top every practice session and take pole for Red Bull, but come race day it was Sir Lewis Hamilton who withstood the Verstappen barrage to start the season with victory for himself and Mercedes.
But with the titles seemingly within the grasp of both Mercedes and Red Bull, Monaghan said this is generating momentum throughout the team regardless of the Bahrain result.
“Enormously, because the prize at the end of the year is very much within the grasp, at the moment, of ourselves and Mercedes,” he is quoted by RACER.
“It gives you the realisation that we can challenge for this and they are [beatable]. We’ve got a fast car and we’ve just got to pick ourselves up from this one.
“We got second place and we were fighting for the victory. It’s not as if we’ve been left behind. Everyone is motivated and there’s a championship to win, so let’s get on with it, it’s done now.”
Monaghan was not comfortable with the theory that victory slipped away from Red Bull in Bahrain.
Ultimately, instead he believes it was a case of fine margins since Verstappen did at one stage take the lead, but had to relinquish it back to Hamilton due to breaching track limits.
“I don’t know if it slipped away, we more played our cards differently and in the end, by running past the curb by two meters we’ve had to give the place back and that’s it. The car was capable of being quicker over the race,” he explained.
“The disappointment within the garage is palpable, yet we’re disappointed to be only second place. There are many people in the paddock who would give up an awful lot to have a trophy and 18 points from one driver.
“We’ve had pole, we’re quick. They [Mercedes] are going to have a fight on their hands, as are we, throughout the season. So when one overcomes the disappointment, we have a quick car, we have a motivated pair of drivers and team, and we get another go at Imola. If we win it, this will be forgotten and we’ll review it as history and move on.”