Daniel Ricciardo believes that if Red Bull gets a good start at the beginning of the season, they will be everyone’s choice to win the 2018 Formula 1 world championship.
2017’s technical regulation overhaul was expected to bring Red Bull to the top of the grid order. But a problem with their co-relation tools caused an issue in the first few races, dimming any hopes of challenging the title.
However, even after a slow start, the Austrian team made impressive gains due to their in-season development work. Max Verstappen won two races in the Asian circuits, and while Ferrari fell through, Red Bull posed a challenge to the Mercedes domination.
Speaking with Motorsport, Ricciardo said: “We just started off on the wrong foot,”
“But the rate of development has been amazing, so I’m hoping if we can start on the right foot in 2018, you would argue we would be the favourites.
“If we started with Mercedes and Ferrari [levels of performance], our development is pretty strong. This year we started off the train. I guess the direction they thought was going to be the right way wasn’t.
“All the development was going towards this kind of aero configuration and that wasn’t the way to go. We saw in testing our car looked very basic. Looks aren’t everything but it shows that the performance wasn’t there.
“We started in the wrong direction and that spiralled for the first few races and then we brought it back.”
If the team had ironed out the issues quickly, their car could have been worthy of challenging Mercedes and Ferrari, he added.
“We would be in the hunt,” he said. “We would have taken it to the end. At the start of the year, the chassis wasn’t where it needed to be. So it was both [chassis and engine].
“Now our chassis has improved a lot. It’s back to the scenario where it’s more engine than chassis at the moment.
“The chassis is still quite hard to get going but when it does, it’s very strong.”