Red Bull Racing has been lagging behind Mercedes since 2014 and has not been able to close the gap to Mercedes in any year. Even with Honda as their engine partner, and with the floor and diffuser to be simplified, it remains to be seen how far Red Bull will be able to recover that loss of downforce.
Pressure on Newey's shoulders
''Despite Red Bull thinking they had cracked their car's code at the end of 2020, dark clouds are gathering in the form of the 2021 rules. With the bite of the floor and the limited diffuser, the high-rake concept could be hit harder than others,'' says Mark Hughes at The Race.
The Formula One journalist sees a doggedness at Red Bull but also sees that they will have to. ''There is no accepting that Mercedes will finish above them again and the extent to which this ambition can be fulfilled will also have an impact on the future of the team and its collaboration with Verstappen.''
The departure of Verstappen
Christian Horner recently revealed that there is indeed an escape clause in Verstappen's contract and that the moment Lewis Hamilton quits F1 is a great opportunity for Verstappen to make the switch to Mercedes. Red Bull and also Honda must therefore do everything possible to prevent that scenario.
''It's up to Red Bull to make sure they deliver a car that doesn't breach the performance clause in Verstappen's contract. So a lot depends on the performance of the RB16B. For Red Bull, for Verstappen, but also for F1 itself. A season in which Red Bull could really take on Mercedes would be very refreshing for the sport'', concludes Hughes.