Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says Honda’s success in 2019 and the mature relationship with its engine supplier are among the main reasons why the Milton Keynes-based outfit is hopeful it will be gunning for glory this season.

Since its last title won in 2013, Red Bull has struggled – like its front-running rival Ferrari – to mount a consistent challenge on the mighty Mercedes squad.

But three wins in 2019 that validated Honda’s outstanding progress and bolstered the Japanese manufacturer’s partnership with RBR, coupled with this year’s promising pre-season preparations have produced an air of healthy optimism at Milton Keynes.

“I think we’ve got a very strong team,” Horner contended, quoted by Formula1.com.

“Our driver line-up, our team, the strength and depth that we have within the team [and] I think our engine partners are a key aspect as well.

“It’s been the missing ingredient in the last few years, and I think that relationship with Honda we saw really grow during the course of last year, with the three victories we achieved, the pole positions that we achieved.

“Heading into a second year with the continuity, with the power unit more integrated into the chassis, of course, our expectations grow and they rise and our targets are very high this year. That’s the challenge.”

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Indeed, Red Bull will still have the Mercedes powerhouse to contend with, not to mention Ferrari despite the House of Maranello’s relatively subdued performance in Barcelona. And then there’s always the possibility of a dark horse rushing out of its stable.

But a productive six days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya have provided a good indication that Red Bull will hit the ground running in Melbourne.

“We know we’ve got some fierce opponents and great competitors, but I think we do have the strength and depth in our team to hopefully put a real challenge together this year,” Horner insisted.

“It just feels that we’re better prepared going into the season ahead than we were 12 months ago.

“The relationship is more mature between ourselves and Honda, the regulations have been stable… so I think, hopefully, we’re in reasonable shape.”

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