Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull Racing could be title favourites for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, if they can avoid a slow start to the season.
The change of the technical regulations for 2017 was expected to leave Red Bull as favourites for the title, but numerous reliability issues at the beginning of the year halted any charge.
Red Bull’s development with the RB13 in the latter part of the season was impressive, enabling to compete with Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari, with Max Verstappen securing two victories towards the end of the season.
Speaking to Autosport.com, Daniel Ricciardo believes if the Milton Keynes based team start 2018 right with no troubles, they can be title contenders.
“We just started off on the wrong foot,” said Ricciardo.
“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, 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.”
The Australian believes that Red Bull would have been very close to having a championship winning car if their chassis was up to scratch at the beginning of the year.
“We would be in the hunt, 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.”