• Australian Grand Prix

Four or five teams could be competitive - Horner

ESPNF1 Staff
March 15, 2012 « Hamilton plays down importance of winning start | Raikkonen comfortable with Lotus »
Christian Horner: "Ferrari I don't think are as in bad a shape as has been perceived" © Getty Images
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes four or five teams could be battling it out at the front of the grid this year.

Over the past two seasons Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have been the only teams capable of winning grands prix, but based on pre-season testing Horner thinks Mercedes and Lotus might be added to the mix.

"What you can see from the longer runs is that the usual protagonists look in reasonable shape," he said. "I think McLaren look like they're going to be competitive, Mercedes look like they've made a step forward, Ferrari I don't think are as in bad a shape as has been perceived and Lotus have shown flashes of speed as well. Out of that you've got four or five teams that all have a chance of being competitive."

Horner said making constant progress with developments will be crucial this year, with the focus on exhaust technology after testing.

"As the regulation changes have been focused mainly in one area, which is around the exhaust area, obviously there have been different solutions that teams have pursued in that area over the winter," he said. "I'm sure there will [continue] to be a focus of attention in that area. As the rest of the regulations are fairly stable, I think we'll see evolutions of perhaps more detailed changes than significant large changes. The attention to detail will make a difference this year."

And he said Red Bull is not resting on its laurels this year after back-to-back championship victories.

"I think that the team is still relatively young and there is a real hunger and desire. We've enjoyed the success we've achieved so far and there is a burning desire to achieve more. The kind of season that we had last year, with 12 victories and pole positions at all bar one race, on paper is a dream season and one that will be very hard replicate. There is always a desire to try and improve and try and better and you've only got to look in the eyes of the guys and girls in the garage and at the factory to see that that determination still burns brightly within them."