Verstappen doubts Red Bull win threat
20 August 2017 – Max Verstappen feels it will still be "tough" for Red Bull to compete with Mercedes and Ferrari when Formula 1 returns from its summer break next weekend, despite recent gains.
Red Bull began 2017 on the back foot, with team boss Christian Horner conceding that it was left two-and-a-half months behind the development curve amid correlation issues.
Red Bull has made progress across the European season, with encouraging performances in Austria and Hungary, though has remained behind the Mercedes/Ferrari title battle.
"For us, on tracks with not too many straights I think we are reasonably close, so I think [Red Bull is] around three-tenths [down], more or less," Verstappen explained to selected media, including GPUpdate.net.
"But then of course when you get a few straights in the track I think we're a bit further away.
"I don't know what to expect for the upcoming races but of course it will be quite tough for us to really compete against them.
"I expect in Spa Mercedes will be again very strong because in general their power unit is still the best in the whole field, but it's very close [between Mercedes and Ferrari]."
Verstappen is also wary that Red Bull, already facing a deficit, could lose out in the engine development race due to "not much coming" from supplier Renault.
"We'll keep developing, but the other teams do [as well]; we have to make sure that we do it a little faster and of course better," he commented.
"I think from the engine side there is not much coming compared to the other teams where there is still development on both sides [chassis and engine].
"So we have to make sure our car is definitely going in the right direction."
Red Bull holds a lonely third in the standings, 134 points adrift of Ferrari.