Red Bull Racing are praying to the racing gods for a “desperate” performance boost from their TAG-Heuer badged Renault engine for the 2018 Formula 1 season.
While the team did manage to secure victories this year, performance dropped when the engines were detuned to prolong their life and avoid penalties.
“Reliability is a key issue next year, but it is also about maintaining the chassis development that we have had during the second half of the year, and we need desperately the engine to concertina in performance,” said Christian Horner to motorsport.com.
“Brazil is power sensitive, and in Abu Dhabi you could see Mercedes were in a class of their own.
“If you listened to their radio content, when they turn their engines up, you only had to look at the middle sector.
“They would go half a second quicker or slower depending on what engine mode they choose.
“Hats off to them. They are doing a great job in that area, but engine performance is a key differentiator.”
Daniel Ricciardo lost out to Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers’ championship when he was forced to retire from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a hydraulics issue.
“Reliability wise we have DNFed in far too many races,” continued Horner. “The RB13 has had 13 podiums and 13 DNFs, so we are looking forward to getting onto RB14!
“Reliability has cost us dear this year. If you assume that each of those DNFs averages between 10 and 12 points, you don’t have to be a mathematics professor to work out how costly that has been for us this year.