Horner : Development race will push team's boundaries

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Momentum is gaining again at Red Bull Racing and team boss Christian Horner is confident that last year's runner-up will give Mercedes a run for its money.

Back at Milton Keynes, Red Bull's design team did its home work on the new regulations and conceived what Horner thinks will be a competitive car.

But the Brit also underscores Renault's massive efforts over the winter as its engine partner seeks to bridge the gap with Mercedes.

"It's a brand new engine this year, a change of philosophy," said a 'bullish' Horner.

"They've had a big winter.  We're hoping for a step in performance, and if that's delivered then hopefully we can really be a challenger this year and give Mercedes and Ferrari a hard time."

Horner still views the Silver Arrows as the outright favourites for 2017 however.

"Mercedes, they're the triple world champions, the team to beat.  They set the bar pretty high. That's what we're aspiring to.

"The driver line-up we have is fantastic, we've had great stability in the team, and we're excited about the year ahead."

The confidence at Red Bull is noticeable, yet Horner remains wary of how the season will unfold once when the race for development sets in.

"It's always an anxious moment before the car runs for the first time," he said.

"But what excites us most about 2017 are the opportunities that arise from these new regulations. It's going to be fascinating to see who's got it right, who's got it wrong.

"And then it's going to be a development race, all the way from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi, and you'll see big increments early on because the regulations are pretty immature.

"There will be low-hanging fruit early on to make sizeable steps. That's going to push every department in the whole team to try and out-wit, out-smart, out-develop and out-produce our rivals.

"That's going to be a stellar challenge in Formula 1 this year."

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