|Dr Helmut Marko thinks they have Ferrari beat, now aim for Mercedes|
(GMM) Red Bull-Honda is setting its sights on championship leaders Mercedes, not the struggling Ferrari team.
That is the claim of Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, who said Melbourne showed that the team is competitive with its new Honda engines.
"It's encouraging for the future that we did not get a single warning on the engine side throughout the race. Everything from fuel consumption to power, battery and so on was always in the green," he told Speed Week.
Team boss Christian Horner told Auto Bild: "(Honda's) Mr Yamamoto even shed a few tears under the podium."
Indeed, Red Bull looked even better than Ferrari in Melbourne, even though the Maranello team was clearly the favorite after winter testing.
"We kept the distance to Mercedes within respectable limits," said Marko.
"We are not looking behind us to Ferrari now. For us, first place is always the bar, so we look forward."
Marko even said Red Bull-Honda's title hopes are alive and well, thanks to Max Verstappen's solid run to third place.
"Max started the season very well," he said. "That is how you win titles, by achieving the optimal result and scoring points.
"With our car, he will be able to fight for the title. Absolutely," Marko added.
But for that, he acknowledged that Red Bull needs to improve its car.
"We want more than third places," said Marko.
"But the team is on the right track, and if we talk about pace, then we were on equal terms with Hamilton.
"Now we have to work on the chassis as fast as possible," he added. "We need more downforce, because we've built cars with as little downforce as possible in recent years so the drag is not too great. But that's not the problem anymore," he added.