Mercedes not too far ahead says Horner

Team boss Christian Horner has denied losing its 'trick' suspension system is the reason Red Bull struggled in Australia.

Many observers are surprised that, with the rules changing and designer Adrian Newey reportedly fully motivated again, Ferrari and Mercedes turned out with clearly faster cars at the 2017 season opener.

Mercedes also removed a controversial suspension layout prior to Melbourne, but it was reportedly done so voluntarily to save weight.

On the other hand, the FIA actually told Red Bull to remove its system.

But team official Dr Helmut Marko insisted in Australia: "For weight reasons we wouldn't have used it here."

And when asked if the suspension system contributed to Red Bull's lack of pace in Australia, boss Horner answered: "I don't think so.

"In the winter, we had just started to implement and improve it, and honestly, even if we had the opportunity to use it, it's not a fact that we would have continued down that path because of the weight.

"In fact, the configuration of our suspension now is the same as last season," he added.

Horner said Red Bull was actually pleased its race pace was better than it had been in qualifying, but he admitted the team is still trailing the top two teams.

"We want to progress quickly," he said. "Our car is clearly third, but in the next two races, we intend to reduce the gap.

"In Melbourne, Ferrari made the strongest impression and they probably have the strongest car, but quite honestly, I don't think Mercedes is too far ahead of us. In my opinion we need to add about half a second per lap," he said.

(GMM)

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