Dr Helmut Marko says Red Bull's new plan for 2018 is still on track. Recently, Marko said the team had learned from 2017, when it started with a car off Mercedes and Ferrari's pace.
"Based on our experience last year, we gave the engineers a deadline," he now explains to Auto Motor und Sport. "There is no worrying this time about whether we can make it to the first test."
Quietly, Marko is optimistic about the RB14 car amid whispers from France that Renault has got the reliability problems of its engine under control. But there are no public goals from Red Bull, with Marko saying only: "Let us surprise. We have optimal values, but we do every year," he said.
Another positive factor is the strong involvement of Adrian Newey, although Marko admits the famous designer is not involved "100 per cent". As for the future, Red Bull is reportedly looking beyond 2018 with Renault and considering joining sister team Toro Rosso in using Honda power.
"Honda is very active and have already found something," Marko said. "Perhaps they will manage to be on Renault's level with their second engine (specification). "Honda had to compromise because of the McLaren chassis and were not able to develop freely. And Alonso did everything he could to make the engine look bad," he added.
For 2018, Marko expects Mercedes to dominate again. "The worst thing is their qualifying mode, because you cannot overtake on most tracks," he said. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing