RB expects top five gap to take at least half of year to bridge

RB team principal Laurent Mekies believes his team has no chance of bridging the gap to the top five teams before updates arrive later in the season.

The opening three races have shown a split in terms of race performance between the top five of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin, and then the remaining five teams. Yuki Tsunoda’s eighth place at the Australian Grand Prix lifted RB up to sixth overall, but despite out-qualifying both Aston Martins and Lewis Hamilton, Mekies thinks just staying in sixth will be tough.

“At the moment that gap is too big,” Mekies told RACER. “The first part of the season, you need to forget about it. It will already be a massive fight to stay in the fast part of that midfield group, and I think everything we are going to be able to bring to the car is probably going to be barely enough to stay there.


“So we are gearing for a tough first part of the season, and then hopefully in the second part of the year we are able to bring a little bit more.”

Tsunoda’s result in Melbourne was the first time RB has scored points this year and puts it ahead of Haas based on best finish, with the latter securing a highest of ninth. Mekies says taking advantage of every opportunity is crucial, as he feels the team has shown the qualifying pace to lead the bottom five teams at all three rounds so far.

“It’s clear that with the way the field is right now, with the top five teams quite a long way ahead of the bottom five teams, every point is going to be gold,” he said. “Because if these guys [ahead] don’t have a problem you’re going to finish P11, even if you top your group. So it’s very good to put four points in the bag.

“It was on the edge in Bahrain – were P11 in Bahrain, I think 0.007s from Q3 – and then we got Q3 in Saudi, we got Q3 [in Melbourne], so we are topping that group but with virtually zero margin. It’s on the edge all the time. It’s great for racing, it’s great for fans, and it’s great for us. But I think it’s about nailing every race weekend.

“If you nail the race weekend, you know that you are topping the group. After that, it’s going to be a development race that is going to start now.

“We will have a small update for Japan, I’m sure the other guys will as well, but it’s a combination between that development race and having to nail absolutely everything on the race weekends to be able to go home with some points.”

Story originally appeared on Racer