Horner warns rivals: momentum is building at Red Bull

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Christian Horner says Red Bull Racing has been gathering strength and building confidence over the winter, warning rival Mercedes that it is ready to deliver a challenge.

After a dismal 2015 season, the former quadruple championship-winning team regained part of its luster last year as Renault pulled its power unit out of the doldrums.

Building on last season's foundation and what he perceives as the outfit's keen ability to interpret F1's new regulations, Horner is stepping up to the plate.

"It feels like we are building momentum," he told Sky Sports F1.

"2016 has been all about building that momentum and there is a feeling of real optimism within the team that if we can nudge a bit closer on the engine…chassis, we are hoping to come up with a good car to give our guys the tools to fight Mercedes next year."

With car design centered this year around aerodynamics, Red Bull's forte in the past, Horner sees the bulls possibly once again going on rampage.

"2017 is a clean sheet of paper and no one knows where the opposition are. We've been quite good with regulation changes before, but nothing can be taken for granted."

"We are hoping similar progress can be made with the engine and if that happens I think we have two very capable drivers of taking the fight to Mercedes.

"Mercedes will be the favourites heading into next year, but if we can narrow that gap down and put them under a bit of pressure it would be great for everyone."

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