Red Bull hope their newly-launched RB16B has resolved the correlation issues which undermined their hopes of challenging for the World Championship last year.
The RB16B is a remarkably similar-looking car to its forerunner, but the team have worked hard on ironing out the previous misalignment in the design and wind-tunnel work they have put in.
Max Verstappen and Alex Albon both found the RB16 a tricky car to drive at times, in particular the latter who could never find the performance he needed to help his team-mate carry the fight to Mercedes – and was ultimately dropped in favour of Sergio Perez.
The drivers experienced several spins in pre-season testing and during the campaign itself – an issue that was eventually attributed to an aerodynamic discrepancy.
“When it [the season] eventually got going, compared with what our simulation tools were telling us, both wind-tunnel and other tools [something was amiss].
“So we learned a lot during 2020. And of course the challenge now is to apply that in 2021.”
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) February 23, 2021
When asked if Red Bull had fully addressed the correlation issue, Horner replied: “I don’t know, we’ll see when the car runs!
“I think we gained a lot of understanding through last year and I think some of it [was] the complexities of our wind-tunnel, which has its limitations in some respects.
“So I think we will only know what sort of progress we’ve made once we get racing from Bahrain onwards.”
At the end of last season, Verstappen, who won the 2020 finale, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, expressed frustration that Red Bull “just depend a bit more on track running” with new parts and that “we have to find a way of making sure that what comes out of the wind-tunnel works straight away on the car and it’s immediate and puts us in the right direction”.
Responding to those comments, Horner said he feels Red Bull have “had quite a high hit rate” regarding updates.
“When something new is introduced to the car, it tends to stay on the car,” said Horner.
“And of course, you don’t have the benefit of testing anymore, so you have to test components at a grand prix circuit or in your virtual world.
“I think we were led off at a tangent at the beginning of the year and we managed to recover from that throughout the 2020 season.
“Of course, that’s what we’ll be looking to learn from as we head into the 2021 season.”