Riccardo, Red Bull Set Sights On Mercedes

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull can close the gap on dominant Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton with further tweaks to the team’s Renault power unit.

A triple race winner in his debut season and the only driver to topple the Mercedes duo, Ricciardo will lead Red Bull in 2015 after four-time champion Sebastian Vettel departed for Ferrari and says engine modifications will help even out the field.

“I believe I can do it. With my prediction that we are going to close the gap, we should definitely be in the hunt and I’m confident l can pull it off if l get the chance,” Ricciardo said from Red Bull’s media day at Milton Keynes in the UK.

“Everyone is going to improve, that’s a fact,” he said. “But you’d like to think that Mercedes’ room for improvement is smaller than everyone else’s because I think they made so much of it last year.

“I hope I’m right,” he continued. “I hope they don’t have another fifty-percent step on top of what they’ve got but I think there’s more room for us and Ferrari to make up that gap.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner say development on the Renault power unit has been full throttle since his team finished runners-up in the constructors championship, a whopping 300 points behind Mercedes.

“We’re flat out into car build at the moment, but it’s been for sure the most impressive winter we’ve had as a team in terms of everything coming together,” Horner added. “The car being produced in the shortest time ever, with the design (team) hitting all their deadlines and targets.”

The new Red Bull car, the RB11, will be unveiled at Jerez on Sunday for the first of the winter test runs.

Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images.