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Red Bull can close the gap to Mercedes in 2021 despite development limits

Red Bull can close the gap to Mercedes despite the limits on how teams can develop their cars for the 2021 F1 season, says team principal Christian Horner.

The team have been the closest challengers to Mercedes so far this season, but have only been able to win one race. However Horner said they have clear progress with its RB16 in recent events.

“I think we’ve understood some of the issues that we’ve got with the car and we’re obviously working hard to address those,” he said. “Hopefully in the remaining races we should be able to take steps that will improve the car in that area.”

In order to reduce costs, F1 has extended the life of the current technical regulations for one more season, with few changes. Teams must carry over the same cars from one season to the next, but have a number of ‘tokens’ they can spend to upgrade certain areas.

While the sport awaits the arrival of sweeping new technical regulations in 2022, Horner believes Red Bull can narrow the gap to Mercedes in the meantime.

“I think ’22 is the big opportunity,” he said. “I think ’21, when you consider the DNA of these cars is carried over, there’s a lot of carryover parts but that doesn’t mean to say if we can unlock more potential in our car and develop the car effectively then yes, of course, I think we can close that gap.”

Horner stressed the Honda-powered team need more than just improvements on the power unit side of their package. “It’s always a combination,” he said. “It’s about working together. We share the same goal, we share the same objective and I’m confident we can collectively get there.

“Mercedes have had such a period of domination but as we all know in sport, at some point in time, that will come to an end. That’s inevitable.”

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