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Red Bull now focussed on Mercedes

NEWS STORY
13/08/2016

This time twelve months ago the regulations were being messed about with - as ever - to accommodate Red Bull in the wake of its continued threat to leave the sport.

Unable to get an engine supply from either Mercedes or Ferrari, and exasperated with Renault, which it had continually, publically criticised, the Austrian outfit was threatening to walk away from the sport.

Consequently, fearing that F1 might lose two teams the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone set about trying to change the rules, looking at various scenarios in an attempt to placate Dietrich Mateschitz.

Despite all the brouhaha, the Austrian team eventually opted to remain with Renault, though rebadging the French power units as Tag-Heuers, and has since gone on to take second place in the 2016 team standings.

The dramas of 2015 long forgotten, or simply not spoken about, having leapfrogged Ferrari in the standings, Christian Horner believes his team can focus purely on closing the gap to Mercedes.

"Our objective is to close that gap further to Mercedes ahead," said Horner, according to Autosport. "We've had great performance at a variety of circuits from Austria to Silverstone to Budapest and Germany. They are four very different venues, four different surfaces and that bodes well for the second half of the season. There are some races on the calendar which will hopefully be favourable to us."

While Horner claims the deficit to the Mercedes is around 0.3s, attention is now switching to 2017, with Renault having already admitted that there are unlikely to be any further upgrades to its engine.

"We still have a few bits that we can tidy up on the car which are on the pipeline, which were kicked off some time ago," said Horner. "There is still progress going on with the engine with drivability. There are some positive things in the pipeline which can hopefully help us to try and close that gap further."

Other than the obvious strength of its car on a number of forthcoming tracks, with a 159 point deficit, Red Bull's best hopes lay in the fact that Lewis Hamilton faces engine penalties along with the in-team rivalry with Nico Rosberg which has already spilled over several times this year.

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