Red Bull are to use the last six races of the season to fully understand the issues with their current car before addressing them with a ‘B-spec’ version of the RB16 next year.
Team principal Christian Horner has been encouraged by the team’s recent performances, especially at the Eifel Grand Prix where Max Verstappen challenged for pole position before finishing second to Lewis Hamilton in the race.
Although there is no longer any hope of denying Mercedes either the drivers’ or constructors’ World Championship titles, Red Bull will still be hopeful of adding to Verstappen’s victory in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone – especially with four of the last six races being held on unfamiliar circuits, if you include one of the two scheduled for Bahrain.
Horner said the team are planning to maximise their points return and learn as much as possible about the RB16 and its weaknesses as they prepare to refine it for next season, when all of the teams will run updated versions of their current cars before the big regulation change for 2022.
“We’ve got Portimao, Imola and Istanbul, all circuits that will be quite interesting for us, and we are keen to finish the season with positive momentum having understood quite a few of the issues we’ve had with the RB16 so that they are addressed going into the RB16B,” said Horner.
In terms of the Nurburgring performance, he added: “It felt like we were a step closer to Mercedes. There were areas of the circuit where we were equal to or better than them.”
Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, meanwhile, said that unlike Mercedes, the team owned by the Austrian energy drink giant will continue trying to improve this year’s car.
Mercedes have already revealed they are now focusing on next year’s version, given that this season’s championships are effectively in the bag – a policy which Marko believes is the norm for the German manufacturer.
Of the Red Bull, he added: “Next year’s car is not much different than this year. We are developing further because we can take over a large part into 2021.
“There will still be an upgrade but we must first process the data from the Nürburgring, although we are missing a complete [cancelled] Friday of practice for the analysis.”