Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, has said the team are going into the 2020 campaign in the best shape since their 2013 title success.
Many believe that Red Bull are the main title contenders after Mercedes and Horner’s comments in the build-up to the season opener in Austria do little to dispute that claim.
“It’s going to be an exciting year and it’s going to be intense,” Horner told Autosport.
“Races are going to come thick and fast.
“And for me it feels that we’re going into the season better prepared or it’s the best we’ve been prepared since probably 2013.
“Going into a season, certainly in the hybrid era it’s represented our best off-season.
“Our second year in our relationship with Honda that feels more integrated, very much part of the team now. And we’re excited – we’re really excited to go racing.”
While Red Bull are preparing to bring a raft of updates to their RB16, which will also be powered by an upgraded Honda engine, Ferrari are stuck with their Barcelona-spec SF1000 until at least Hungary after deciding to go down a completely new development path following a below-par pre-season.
Mercedes, too, are also coming to the Red Bull Ring armed with upgrades.
Horner has also given further explanation as to why Max Verstappen was not involved in the recent RB16 filming day at Silverstone, which helped Alex Albon – a driver he has tipped to be a surprise this season – shake off the rust a little.
“For the team, it was extremely useful just to practice the new procedures with the PPE and so on,” Horner added.
“It was just good to get them doing some of the basics again – pitstops and some of the fundamentals just to blow away the cobwebs.
“It was useful for Alex as well. Obviously, he’s only in his second year of grand prix racing [so] to get 100km in the car [helped].
“We made the decision quite a while ago, not to subject Max to quarantine. The upside of 50km, which is equivalent of probably less than [a few] laps in Austria, didn’t outweigh the benefits.
“So, yeah, it was a useful exercise. Good to see the cars running again and good to see the team straight back down to sub two-second pit stops.”