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2014-02-03 07:21

POINTING FINGERS: Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz says the team has all the know-how about F1, but engine supplier Renault is to blame for the current car crisis. Image: AFP

SALZBURG, Austria - Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz is keeping his calm, despite a nightmarish 2014 opening test for the 2013 champion team.

While key Mercedes and Ferrari-powered rivals got up to speed at Jerez, Spain, with their radical new V6 turbo and energy recovery-powered cars, Red Bull struggled to run the RB10 with Renault issues and chassis cooling problems, ultimately collecting a meagre tally of barely 20 laps for the entire four-day test.

Mateschitz, however, sounded calm as he spoke to the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper when he said: "These were the more-or-less expected teething problems with a new engine being tested for the first time on a track."


Red Bull and Renault now have two weeks to solve the issues for the next test in Bahrain but Mateschitz said it was already clear the RB10 was a good car. He said: "It is very positive because it is more than just 'state of the art' again, as can be seen in the details. The moment of truth will come at the first race in Melbourne."

He denied that recent high-profile staff departures - among them aerodynamics chief Peter Prodromou's switch to McLaren - had contributed to the problem. "Our current problems are not with the team," he said, "but in the engine area. The team has more than excellent know-how."

He did admit, however, that Mercedes and Ferrari would be powerful rivals in 2014 despite four consecutive seasons of Renault-powered Red Bull dominance. "Ferrari has made enormous efforts during the (northern) winter," he said, "and Mercedes seems to have done a very good job with the power unit but Renault is coming again, the only question is when."

Mateschitz seemed to acknowledge, therefore, that Red Bull's current deficit could still be an issue when the F1 circus travels to Melbourne in March.

"A deficit at the beginning of the season does not automatically mean that the world title is lost," he said.  "Even if you come from behind, you still have a chance."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.


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