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So far, so good says Horner

NEWS STORY
06/04/2016

Despite Red Bull's worst fears, not helped by Daniil Kvyat's retirement on the way to the Melbourne grid, the Austrian outfit is currently third in the standings, only three points behind Ferrari.

"Melbourne was a very positive race for us," Horner told the official F1 website. "Daniel raced very well and the car was competitive throughout the race.

"The degradation on the tyres was good and the characteristic of that circuit suited us, as there is not a huge dependency on power. The next few races will be much tougher - until we get a significant upgrade with the power unit."

And talking of power units, a relaxation of the original rules means Renault has more freedom in terms of development this year.

"I think they have all the opportunities," agrees Horner. "Over the last six months they really started to make progress. Now that they have their own team as well their determination and urgency only increased."

Asked if Red Bull has a say in the development of the power unit, Horner admits: "We obviously have introduced Renault to Mario Illien who is now working directly with Renault. That relationship seems to be working well. But we have no technical involvement."

Asked if the works units - which Illien is also working on - are exclusive, Horner confirms: "They are both the same. They are identical. Whatever Renault benefit from also goes for the TAG Heuer-badged engine.

"I think we are in a better position than 12 months ago," he continues, reflecting on the various issues that led to threats of the team(s) leaving the sport. "Progress is being made with the power unit and regulation changes are happening for 2017 already on the chassis side. And there is a lot of discussion going on about the power unit situation for the future. So there is a much different outlook than one year ago.

So what about Dietrich Mateschitz' threat to leave the sport, which was repeated just a few weeks ago.

"Dietrich's will is very consistent since day one: he wants to compete... and compete for victories. He understands the situation that we have, that we have a great team and that we are fighting back. That process has started this year."

Asked if Max Verstappen will step up to the main team next season, Horner is giving little away.

"It is a nice situation to have. Both Toro Rosso drivers are Red Bull drivers, as were Ricciardo and Kvyat - and Vettel before - and all started out at Toro Rosso. It is an incredible situation to have such a pool of fantastic drivers. We don't have an issue finding competitive drivers in the next few years..."

Pushed as to whether one of the current Red Bull drivers will be dropped in Verstappen's favour, Horner merely replies: "It is a healthy situation, it's healthy competition and it keeps all the drivers honest."

Then again, it's Marko who does all the hiring and firing.

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