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Mercedes trying to leave the spotlight saying Red Bull are favorites, says Horner

Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal. Credits: Red Bull Content Pool.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal, stated after pre-season that the W12 was not as good as expected. However, Christian Horner believes that their rivals are “trying to move the spotlight away from themselves” by saying Red Bull is favorite. 

During the three days of testing in Bahrain, Mercedes seemed to struggle a lot with the car’s balance. This problem was highlighted by both drivers as well. On the other hand, Red Bull seemed pretty stable and quick with both Max Verstappen and the new Sergio Perez. Moreover, the reigning champion team struggled more with the reliability of the car if compared to Red Bull. This can be seen by the number of laps covered by each team (369 against 304). 

However, Horner believes Mercedes will be stronger in Bahrain this weekend during the first race, and he also thinks they will not struggle as much as during pre-season testing. 

“There is no denying that after the smooth running of the three-day test in Bahrain, there seems to be an excitement out there that we can end Mercedes’ seven-year dominance of F1,” said Horner in an article on Red Bull’s website. “But we had a debrief within the team after the test and it’s fair to say we are a little more cautious on the subject and we cannot underestimate the size of the challenge ahead of us on many fronts.

“Of course, Mercedes are trying to move the spotlight away from themselves, which is all part of the game,” added Horner. “But the reality is they are the reigning seven-time world champions and it is down to us to close that gap and put up a fight.”

“We know that Mercedes has not won by mistake for the past seven years,” Horner said. “They are a quality, class team that will be motivated to come back strong. We saw it a couple of years ago where there was a similar story during pre-season testing and then they smashed it out of the park at the first race in Melbourne.

“They had one of their strongest seasons last year and this year’s car is an evolution of that, so let’s see what we all have in Bahrain and the rest will follow,” Horner added. “You cannot take anything for granted. And at this stage, it is good that we have a solid basis from which to develop the car, rather than fixing an inherent problem.”

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