Red Bull chief Christian Horner says he is “wondering where Ferrari and Mercedes have gone” in 2023 after his team secured another comfortable 1-2 finish in the Miami Grand Prix.

Although Ferrari has provided an occasional threat in qualifying – with Charles Leclerc claiming pole position in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Red Bull’s RB19 has been an untouchable force in race trim.

The Austrian outfit has emerged victorious in all five Sunday races, plus a Sprint race win in Baku, and delivered four 1-2 finishes to mark its best-ever start to an F1 season.

Despite starting down the order in ninth place in Miami Max Verstappen powered his way through to win the race, finishing over 20s clear of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin in the closest non-Red Bull car.

With both Ferrari and Mercedes falling behind the Silverstone outfit in the Constructors’ Championship, Horner admits he has been left confused by the backwards relative step Red Bull’s two longstanding rivals have taken over the winter.

“Five races, five wins, plus the spirit, four one-two finishes. We’ve never ever had a start like this and we’re kind of wondering where the others are,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“We’ve made a normal step over the winter, but we’re wondering where Ferrari and Mercedes have gone. They are working hard on I’m sure big upgrades for Europe.”

2nd place Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing with 1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. 07.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA, Race Day.

However, Horner is not taking Red Bull’s comfortable advantage at the front of the field in both performance and points terms for granted with 18 rounds still to run.

The long-serving Red Bull team boss has highlighted how Mercedes being entitled to 17% more time in the wind tunnel could enable the German team to quickly whittle away at its current deficit.

Having conceded its current car concept was capable of being a championship contender, Mercedes is expected to unleash a series of upgrades over the following rounds, including revised bodywork on the W14.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur also confirmed ahead of the Miami GP that the Italian squad would be introducing developments through the coming races.

“It’s still a long season and [Mercedes] have got a lot of development time available to them,” Horner added on the F1 Nation podcast.

“I keep hearing of massive upgrades for Mercedes coming and significant ones for Ferrari.

“So, you know, if they do have a B-spec car then things can change quite quickly.”

Aside from being allocated the least amount of aerodynamic testing time as the reigning World Champions, Red Bull is also having to deal with a further 10% less allowance on top as punishment for breaking the cost cap regulations in 2021.

Horner has previously underlined that he expects it to come back to bite Red Bull later in the campaign and insists the team needs to make use of its competitive advantage now in order to be able to switch focus to the 2024 car earlier this year.

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