Max Verstappen is still wary of a potential straight-line speed deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari as Red Bull look to emerge as a major title contender.
After an impressive winter testing, many believe Red Bull are ready to address their usual trend of only finishing the season strongly and take the fight to their rivals as soon as the lights go green in Melbourne.
But Verstappen is remaining cautious about Red Bull's progression and thinks the team could well have some catching up to do on the straights.
“We have to wait and see,” Verstappen told reporters in Australia.
“The car compared to last year, definitely made some good improvements. But for sure everybody improved. From my personal feeling we have quite a strong car.
“But we have to wait and see how good our overall package is with the straights here. It is definitely going to be a bit painful there. For sure I am optimistic but also realistic, so we will just have to wait and see.”
Verstappen also said that it is not just down to Renault now to provide them with a competitive power unit and Red Bull need to continue to work hard on the chassis.
“We have to be on top of that [the development of the chassis] as well compared to Mercedes and Ferrari." he added.
“In the past it has always been a strong point for Red Bull, the development during the season, but we have to wait and see how it is going to be this year again.
“It is a different year again. But I am confident in the team that they can build a great car and also maintain that. But the overall package needs to be right."