Mark Webber believes that Red Bull will remain the team to beat at the start of this season despite the Milton Keynes-based outfit's budget cap-induced aero penalty.
Red Bull's breach of F1's 2021 budget cap has seen the team's allocation of wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) time cut by ten per cent over the next 12 months.
Red Bull was already set to have the lowest permitted amount of aero testing of any team as a result of winning this year's constructors title.
But Webber is convinced that Red Bull will still line up on the grid in Bahrain in early March as F1's "most dangerous" contender.
"Red Bull are still the most dangerous team coming out of the blocks," Webber told Autosport.
"Actually, everyone has to lift their games in all aspects. We saw that Mercedes had great reliability, Ferrari of course less so. But Red Bull had good reliability and were strong at all tracks.
"And Max, it's just 'Formula 1 plus' for him at times. I think the highlight for me was to see what he did through the field in Spa. That was just unbelievable."
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner described the aero penalty levied upon the outfit as "draconian", while chief technical officer Adrian Newey said the restrictions will impact Red Bull's performance, although he could not quantify by how much.
"I don't think anyone knows really how much that's going to impact them, but I'm sure they've got enough creative people there to keep it going," said Webber.
"But I think we also don't know how much Mercedes have given up on this year [in 2022]. In some ways, giving up is not the right word, because there's always some learning for next year.
"But I mean how they allocated the time, the R&D and the money under the budget cap between last year and the 2023 car.
"Thanks to those elements, it's going to be fascinating to see how the first quarter plays out this season."
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